Last month, PETA broke the news about barbaric U.S. Army trauma training exercises that were being conducted at a base camp in Hawaii, in which pigs were shot with high-powered rifles. Local Army officials there are standing by their false claims that these exercises are necessary to provide soldiers with the skill to treat trauma victims on the battlefield, even though it seems to us these exercises broke Army regulations by not using available alternatives to the primitive use of animals.
I guess we can sleep well knowing that if a soldier loses his tail during a raid, some well-trained fellow soldiers, thanks to this training, may be able to reattach the necessary posterior appendage.
Given the U.S. Army’s apparent outright disregard for their own regulations and the treatment of these animals, PETA is now asking commanding officers at bases in Hawaii and Texas—where a more recent training exercise included breaking and amputating the legs of nearly 1,000 goats with tree trimmers—for a court martial over the shooting, mutilating, and killing of animals during these old-fashioned training exercises.
According to the Army’s own regulations, the Army is required to use alternatives to animals in training exercises when scientifically valid and comparable alternatives exist. And they do! The animal exercise should have been replaced with validated, state-of-the-art simulators, such as the Department of Defense’s own Combat Trauma Patient Simulator, which more realistically simulates battlefield conditions and, consequently, is considered superior to outdated animal methods. Other viable alternatives include Dr. Emad Aboud’s “living” cadaver perfusion model, Simulab Corporation’s TraumaMan system, and establishing military level one trauma centers in nearby communities in order to have trainees work with the community to take care of their city’s population.
Kathy Guillermo, director of PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, says, “The Army has regulations in place specifically to prevent this kind of cruelty to animals, but the oversight committee apparently chose to ignore them. Our soldiers deserve to be trained using the most advanced technology available—that means using human simulators.”
The U.S. Army does not train soldiers to race into battle zones to retrieve injured pigs, goats, or dogs. That would be great, but let’s face it: It’s not the government’s main agenda. Time, money, and resources could be far better spent.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky