The military contractor that was responsible for hacking apart inadequately anesthetized goats in a crude military trauma training exercise exposed by PETA wants to conduct 24 more training courses—but it won’t get the chance if Congress can help it.
Tier 1 Group, LLC, was made infamous when PETA released a video exposé of a U.S. Coast Guard trauma training course in which Tier 1 Group instructors cut off goats’ legs with tree trimmers, cut into the animals’ abdomens to pull out their organs, and stabbed the animals with scalpels as the goats moaned and kicked. PETA filed a complaint, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Tier 1 Group for violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). It was Tier 1 Group’s second AWA violation in as many years. A U.S. Coast Guard investigation of Tier 1 Group following a PETA complaint is still ongoing.
Congress Steps In
So when this law-breaking company was awarded yet another military contract worth nearly $1.8 million of taxpayer money, members of Congress were aghast. A group of 11 representatives contacted Gene Dodaro, comptroller general of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and called for an investigation into why Tier 1 Group received the new contract. They cited regulations that clearly require federal contractors to abide by the law, including the AWA. The representatives assert that Tier 1 Group’s history of repeatedly breaking the law may be sufficient cause to revoke the new military contract and to prevent the company from ever receiving any more taxpayer funds.
There Is a Better Way
The congressional representatives’ actions speak loud and clear: The government should not pay anyone to torment animals illegally. And it doesn’t have to. Superior humanlike simulators are already in use in military training courses in the U.S. and around the world. The simulators are so realistic that they can cry, talk, respond to medications, bleed, breathe, and even “die,” so it’s easy to see how such a training tool would better prepare soldiers for what they may encounter on the battlefield than would crudely hacking apart an animal.
What You Can Do
A bill, the Battlefield Excellence Through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act (H.R. 1417/S. 3418), currently pending before Congress, would responsibly phase out the U.S. military’s use of animals in trauma training entirely and require the use of modern simulation technology. Please send a polite e-mail to your congressional representatives and ask them to cosponsor this lifesaving legislation today.