Victory! U.S. Coast Guard Ends Use of Animals in Trauma Training

Published by PETA.

Update: The U.S. Coast Guard has put it in writing! In public records obtained by PETA in March 2018, the agency confirmed to Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), that it has permanently ended its use of animals in cruel trauma training drills (known as “live tissue training”)! In the letter, Rear Admiral Michael P. Ryan, the U.S. Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for capability, states:

[A] Tactical Medical Working Group reviewed tactical medical training practices for Coast Guard personnel, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense policies, and advancements in medical training technology, and determined that live-tissue training should be discontinued in favor of medical simulator alternative training. The Deputy Commandant for Operations immediately approved the Working Group’s recommendation and announced the end of live-tissue training to all Coast Guard personnel on 28 June 2017.

I am confident that the advancements in medical simulation will increase the quality of tactical medical training of our Coast Guard members.

It’s official: The U.S. Coast Guard will never again abuse animals in the ways shown in this video.  

PETA is now calling on the U.S. Department of Defense to join the U.S. Coast Guard in permanently ending all trauma training drills on animals.

Originally posted May 17, 2017: On Thursday, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft told the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee that the use of animals in the agency’s trauma training drills known as “live tissue training” is “abhorrent” and that the Coast Guard “will move to a simulation [training model] . . . For us it will be the right thing to do to prepare our Coast Guard members who may be deployed to theaters where they may encounter traumatic injuries.”

The commandant’s comments, which were in response to questions by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), are the first indication that the agency will permanently end the use of animals in trauma training drills in which live animals are shot, stabbed, and dismembered. Rep. Roybal-Allard’s January 18 letter to the Coast Guard prompted the agency’s suspension of animal use, which she announced on April 27.

Also this week, Rep. Barragan (D-CA), Marino (R-PA) and  Speier (D-CA) sent a powerful bipartisan letter signed by dozens of Members of Congress praising the Coast Guard’s suspension of live tissue training and reinforcing the need to make this ban permanent. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a longtime leader on this issue, also urged the Coast guard in writing this week to make the ban permanent.

“I am overjoyed and deeply gratified that Admiral Zukunft has indicated he will end the Coast Guard’s use of live tissue training,” says Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “Shooting and stabbing live animals for the sake of medical training is a cruel and unnecessary practice.  State-of-the-art interactive human simulators will be a less costly and more effective way of teaching how to provide humans with emergency medical care. I look forward to working with the Coast Guard as they transition to a simulator-based system of medical training.”

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk adds, “We salute Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, a leader with insight and heart, who understands that progress involves respect for animals as well as for those men and women of the Coast Guard, whose lives depend on modern simulation-based training. PETA applauds the Coast Guard’s wise decision and is grateful the leadership proactively pursued such a sensible reform.”

In April 2012, PETA released an eyewitness investigation of a Coast Guard trauma training drill. In the video, instructors cut off inadequately sedated goats’ legs with tree trimmers, slice into their abdomens to pull out their organs, and stab them with scalpels as they moan and kick. In 2014, the Coast Guard met with PETA and cut its animal use in training drills by 50 percent.


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Note: PETA supports animal rights, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, and educates the public on those issues. It does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind