New GAO Report Slamming Military’s Trauma Training on Animals Is Exactly What PETA Hoped For

For Immediate Release:
May 5, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – Please see the following statement from PETA Vice President Shalin Gala regarding a damning new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that criticizes failures in the U.S. Department of Defense’s trauma training drills on animals:

PETA salutes the scathing new report just released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that slams the U.S. Department of Defense’s use and mutilation of animals in trauma training drills, a practice that PETA first exposed and campaigned against and that the military’s own Defense Health Agency has described as “outdated and cost-prohibitive” and “not anatomically accurate.” The GAO’s report criticizes the military for, in part, failing to “track progress in reducing animal use for combat trauma training.” The U.S. Coast Guard previously met directly with PETA and became the first branch of the armed forces to end the use of animals for what it calls this “abhorrent” trauma training, and former President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan law that included a PETA-backed provision that, for the first time, made human-simulation technology the new gold standard of trauma training. Based on these landmark precedents in pushing back against the military’s war on animals, PETA strongly urges the top brass at the Pentagon—as well as other agencies like the U.S. Department of Justice—to stop dragging their feet and permanently end the use of animals in trauma training drills, which more than 70% of NATO allies have already done.

Background Information

The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report—issued following a request from Congress, in addition to years of pressure on the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) from PETA and others—states, “[T]he use of animals in medical education has faced long-standing scrutiny due to a continuing focus on animal welfare and continued improvement in other training methods.” The agency continues, “DOD has not established measurable objectives and performance measures to track progress in reducing animal use for combat trauma training,” and as such, it “cannot fully demonstrate the extent to which DOD has made progress in minimizing animal use.” The GAO also criticized the DOD, stating, “DOD has inconsistently applied guidance for reviewing and approving trauma training protocols.” Among its recommendations, which it says the DOD has accepted, the GAO calls for the military to better monitor and measure “progress in refining, reducing, and replacing animal use in trauma training.”

Nearly a decade ago, PETA also worked with members of Congress to send a letter to the GAO calling for an investigation into—and termination of—a federal trauma training contract worth nearly $2 million awarded in May 2012 by the U.S. Navy to the private military firm Tier 1 Group. Less than one week prior to receiving the award, the firm was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, following a complaint from PETA, for a serious repeat violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act because it had provided live goats with inadequate anesthesia during invasive trauma training for the Coast Guard.

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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