PETA Demands U.S. Army Ban ‘Classified’ Weapon-Wounding Tests on Dogs, Others

Published by Elena Waldman.

Originally posted on September 30, 2022:

In a shocking twist, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC)—in its “Policy 84”—is now explicitly permitting formerly banned laboratory experiments involving the wounding of dogs, cats, marine animals, and primates using weapons. And to add insult to injury (of our fellow animals), the military branch is refusing to disclose details of these secretive taxpayer-funded tests to PETA.

In March 2022, PETA filed a Freedom of Information Act request for photos, videos, and other documentation of tests approved by the USAMRDC “that involve the use of a weapon … to inflict wounds” on animals. Even though the command initially stated that it had at least 2,000 responsive records, it later backtracked, claiming to have only one—which the Army conveniently claims is “classified … in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.”

PETA Demands Answers on Behalf of Our Fellow Animals and the Public

Taxpayers deserve to know if their money is going toward torturing dogs, cats, marine animals, and primates in pointless and cruel weapon-wounding experiments. That’s why PETA filed an appeal with the Army, calling for the release of public information on weapons testing in which wounds are inflicted on such animals. We also sent a letter to Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth urging her to reinstate the previous ban on such tests.

The Army Needs to Restore the Ban on Weapon-Wounding Tests on Animals

In 1983, PETA exposed and successfully campaigned to shut down a U.S. Department of Defense “wound lab” in which dogs, goats, and other animals were shot with high-powered weapons, resulting in the first-ever permanent ban on the shooting of dogs and cats in wound labs, which was issued by then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

In 1983, PETA got a U.S. Department of Defense underground “wound lab” shut down and achieved a permanent ban on shooting dogs and cats in military wound laboratories. That ban now needs to be reinstated.

In 2005, the Army issued Regulation 40-33, which banned the use of dogs, cats, marine animals, and primates in “[r]esearch conducted for development of biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons.” Yet in 2020, the Army apparently reversed its position by permitting “[t]he purchase or use of dogs, cats, nonhuman primates, or marine mammals to inflict wounds upon using a weapon for the purpose of conducting medical research, development, testing, or evaluation.”

Importantly, the 59th Medical Wing (MDW) of the U.S. Air Force recently adopted a policy that states that its own experimentation program “does not conduct Research & Development or training protocols involving non-human primates, dogs, cats, or marine mammals”—which is the opposite of the USAMRDC’s policy, which allows weapon-wounding tests on these animals.

PETA is leading the push for the Army to disclose the details of these horrific experiments and follow the lead of the Air Force’s 59th MDW and permanently ban crude and irrelevant weapon-wounding experiments on animals.


Update (October 14, 2022): Following our revelation, the USAMRDC issued a statement that it has no “ongoing” animal-wounding programs and “do[es] not have any studies related to wounding cats or dogs.”

So PETA Senior Project Manager Carla Gunn, a disabled combat veteran, issued a statement in response

Neither Gen. George Patton nor President Franklin Roosevelt would have tolerated such a misleading statement by the U.S. Army about its recent use of animals in weapon wounding tests, and neither will PETA. Like them, we will continue to fight and win—for the animals who are as defenseless as any downtrodden population. It’s misleading for the Army to give the impression that such weapon wounding tests on animals are not “ongoing” without further clarification—in fact, such testing by the Army has recently occurred, as it confirmed the existence of at least one “classified” protocol of such testing. The bottom line is that the Army’s current policy reverses precedent by allowing for the use of weapons to wound dogs, cats, primates, and marine mammals in gruesome tests, and this abhorrent absurdity needs to be permanently banned.

Here’s What You Can Do

While we push for transparency from the USAMRDC and a ban on these weapon-wounding tests, other branches of the U.S. military are using our fellow animals in cruel experiments.

The U.S. Navy is squeezing the life out of sheep and other animals in gruesome and often deadly decompression sickness/illness and oxygen toxicity experiments that are as pointless as they are out of step with international standards. PETA has sent letters to the secretary of the Navy and the secretary of defense urging an end to these painful experiments.

Join us in telling the Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense to stop funding and conducting cruel decompression and oxygen toxicity experiments on animals:

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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