Did you know that in addition to being the award-winning director of Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, Oliver Stone is a decorated Army veteran? He’s earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Stone’s interest in the military and his compassion for animals is what prompted him to write this morning to Bolivian President Evo Morales thanking Morales for enacting Bolivia’s first animal-protection regulation. The Bolivian government banned the abuse of live animals in military training exercises after the release of video footage that showed conscious dogs who screamed in agony as soldiers stabbed the animals’ chests and heads with knives. In the letter, Stone says, “I applaud your efforts and thank you from the bottom of my heart. With this move, you have set a lifesaving precedent that we hope others will follow.”
Considering that Stone was such an esteemed member of our armed forces, maybe the Department of Defense (DoD) will take note. People like Stone who have served in the military think that using thousands of live animals each year in trauma- and chemical casualty–training exercises is cruel and unnecessary. How many servicemen and servicewomen have to cry foul before the DoD follows in Bolivia’s footsteps?
Written by Shawna Flavell