After receiving an urgent tip from a concerned whistleblower alleging that Army Reserve combat medics at Fort Sam Houston will soon be forced to shoot, stab, and kill goats in crude trauma training exercises, PETA fired off a letter to the base’s commander urging her to end the use of animals and modernize training practices. The group pointed out that military studies show that humane, high-tech human-patient simulators are more effective and economical than maiming and killing animals.
“The use of simulators will improve troop readiness, save animals’ lives and cut costs,” wrote PETA in its letter to Brig. Gen. Heather L. Pringle. “We urge you to take immediate steps to move Fort Sam Houston away from Cold War–era animal-based trauma training methods and toward a more advanced and cost-effective 21st century human simulation training model that several other military facilities have already adopted.”
According to video footage obtained by PETA as well as firsthand accounts from service members, during military trauma training, holes are cut into the limbs, throats, and chests of live goats and pigs. In addition, these animals are shot and stabbed, their limbs are fractured and cut off, and they sustain injuries from landmine blasts and burns from propane torches.
A number of bases prepare service members without harming animals. The Army’s Alfred V. Rascon School of Combat Medicine at Fort Campbell in Kentucky doesn’t use animals in its trauma program, stating that “[t]raining on [simulators] is more realistic to providing care for a person than training on animals.” Other military installations—such as the Navy Trauma Training Center and the Air Force Expeditionary Medical Skills Institute’s Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills—have also confirmed that they don’t use animals in training personnel to treat traumatic injuries.
The Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act (H.R. 1095)—a bipartisan bill that would phase out the use of animals in military medical training in favor of human-simulation methods—garnered 94 cosponsors in the 114th Congress and was endorsed by the New York Times editorial board and top national medical organizations representing 255,000 physicians and doctors-in-training.
What You Can Do
Please join military veterans Oliver Stone, Bob Barker, and Gideon Raff in helping improve military training and protecting animals. Send a polite e-mail to U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security officials urging them to take immediate action to replace the use of animals in all military trauma training with superior, non-animal training methods.