Exposed: Cruelty to Animals, Racism, and Alleged Sexual Assaults by Top Military Trainer

Video Shows Contractor Shooting Pigs, Denigrating Muslims; Complaint Alleges Drugging and Sexual Abuse of Service Members

For Immediate Release:
June 9, 2015

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – A breaking PETA eyewitness investigation and related documents have revealed animal abuse and a pattern of other violent, discriminatory, and apparently illegal activities by Deployment Medicine International (DMI), the U.S. military’s leading contractor for trauma training courses in which live animals are shot and stabbed.

A PETA letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter—signed by a former Navy hospital corpsman—calls for sanctions against DMI, where PETA’s eyewitness video footage has uncovered mutilations of animals, racism, homophobia, and sexual harassment. And a recent Virginia Board of Medicine complaint uncovered by PETA documents alleged physical and sexual assault of military service members, illegal human experimentation, and more abuse in other DMI courses around the same time.

As seen in PETA’s disturbing video (available here) of a DMI course attended by personnel from the Navy, Air Force, and others, instructors shot live pigs with shotguns and cut into the animals to cause massive bleeding. They rammed a metal rod through at least one pig’s leg, cut into his abdomen, pulled out part of his intestines, and shot him in the face, blowing off his jaw. The footage shows that at least one pig was apparently inadequately sedated and woke up while being cut open.

In the video, one instructor tells a room of students that Muslims, whom he refers to as “Hajis,” “would be even better” than using pigs for DMI’s deadly training. several sexual and homophobic remarks to the students and joked about mutilating and killing animals.

“Shooting and stabbing pigs is an archaic and inferior method of teaching battlefield medicine—and it certainly fosters insensitivity to both humans and animals,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “The Department of Defense has an obligation to protect animals and soldiers by replacing these animal laboratories with modern medical simulators, which military researchers agree are more effective and 100 percent humane.”

PETA has also obtained previously unreleased documents revealing that the Virginia Board of Medicine recently concluded that DMI President John Hagmann’s alleged conduct creates a “substantial danger to the public health and safety,” The Board suspended his medical license for reportedly drugging, physically abusing, and sexually assaulting service members and other students in these courses and for having students perform surgical procedures on one another. In one instance, Hagmann allegedly punished a woman who criticized animal use by forcing her to perform a painful procedure on another student’s penis without proper training.

In recent years, DMI has maimed and killed more than 14,000 pigs and received more than 200 federal training contracts worth nearly $10 million.

PETA’s letters to the Department of Defense and other agencies are available upon request. For more information, visit PETA.org.

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Media Response Team.

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“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