DOD to Replace Cruel Use of Animals in Many Medical Training Exercises

Military’s Switch to Modern Human Simulators Follows PETA Campaign

For Immediate Release:
November 12, 2014

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


In the wake of PETA’s campaign to expose and end the horrors experienced by live animals who are shot, cut into, and blown up in military training exercises, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has made a landmark decision: Starting next year, the use of animals will be replaced with superior human simulators in several key medical training areas across the entire military.

The move was announced in a memorandum from Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Jonathan Woodson, who states that “suitable simulation alternatives can replace the use of live animals” in these exercises and ordered the change to go into effect by January 1.

The six training programs that will end animal use include advanced trauma life support, neonatal and pediatric resuscitation, obstetrics and gynecology, nursing anesthesia, continuing medical staff skills training, and field surgical and critical care training.

“This tremendous step to modernize military medicine will spare countless animals pain and suffering and ultimately improve medical care for our brave men and women in uniform,” says Justin Goodman, PETA director of laboratory investigations. “We continue to urge the DOD to join the nearly 80 percent of our NATO allies that have entirely replaced the use of animals in medical training with superior simulation technology.”

DOD regulations require the use of non-animal training methods whenever available, and recently presented DOD-supported studies show that life-like human simulators teach medical skills as well as or better than using live animals. A 2012 PETA study  (full text), co-authored with military physicians, found that the U.S. is one of only six out of 28 NATO nations that use animals in military medical training.

The DOD’s move follows complaints filed by PETA in cooperation with military and civilian medical experts as well as protests, whistleblower complaints, pleas from celebrity veterans such as Bob Barker  and Oliver Stone, a shocking 2012 PETA video exposé , and hundreds of thousands of e-mails and calls from PETA supporters. In 2013 and 2014, PETA prompted the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard to institute new policies restricting the use of animals in medical training and requiring greater use of simulation and other non-animal methods. PETA also recently persuaded the U.S. Army to stop poisoning monkeys in chemical-attack training exercises and persuaded Naval Medical Center San DiegoNaval Medical Center Portsmouth, and  Madigan Army Medical Center to stop forcing hard tubes down live cats’ and ferrets’ throats in pediatric intubation exercises.

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