71 Members of Congress Press Military to Phase Out Wasteful Animal Labs

House Members Seek Information on Plans for Reducing Animal Use

For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2016

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – In a letter sent this morning, 71 Congress members from both sides of the aisle led by Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)—both members of the House Armed Services Committee—are asking Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to outline what progress the Department of Defense (DOD) has made toward its stated commitment to replace the shooting and stabbing of live animals in combat trauma training with high-tech human simulators.

The coalition of Congress members—which includes many military veterans—explains the educational benefits and cost savings associated with simulation use and seeks information on DOD expenditures on animal use versus simulation as well as trends in DOD animal use and its plans to incorporate simulation.

Military animal use regulations require that non-animal training tools be used whenever possible, but there has been little accountability and transparency regarding the DOD’s continued use of animals, who are cut up and killed in the training.

“While I went through live animal tissue training early in my Army career, advances in human-based simulation have made this new training more accurate,” says Rep. Heck, a physician, an Iraq War combat veteran, and chair of the Armed Services Committee’s Military Personnel Subcommittee. “Ending the use of live animals in military training and transitioning to simulations will increase military readiness and combat effectiveness, reduce training costs, and save the lives of countless animals.”

Rep. Speier, a ranking member on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, says, “The Department of Defense has the responsibility to provide the best available combat preparation to its medics. But according to its own studies, simulations are more effective than maiming and killing animals for medical training. I am pleased to join Dr. Heck in ensuring that the DOD is following its own procedures to phase out this unnecessary and cruel practice. This is a no-brainer, and we expect there will be no further delays in ending this barbaric practice.”

“A majority of Americans oppose animal testing, and PETA is grateful to these members of Congress for ensuring that DOD policies that require the use of superior and humane training technologies are enforced,” says PETA Director of Government Relations Justin Goodman.

As revealed by PETA, thousands of healthy animals are maimed in military trauma training, even though DOD and civilian research shows that widely available simulators are superior. A bipartisan bill, the BEST Practices Act (H.R. 1095), would phase out military animal laboratories by the end of 2020.

A copy of the letter to Secretary Carter is available here and more information is here.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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