U.S. Coast Guard Bans the Use of Animals in Deadly Trauma Training

Just-Released Documents Confirm Suspension of Stabbing, Shooting, Dismembering of Pigs and Goats Is Now Permanent

For Immediate Release:
March 21, 2018

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – The U.S. Coast Guard has become the first branch of the U.S. Armed Forces to permanently end the stabbing, shooting, dismembering, and killing of goats and pigs in trauma training drills. This move was confirmed in a letter from Coast Guard Rear Admiral Michael P. Ryan, which PETA received on Friday through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In the letter to Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), dated October 30, 2017, Rear Admiral Ryan confirms “the end of live-tissue training to all Coast Guard personnel on 28 June 2017.” He states, “I am confident that the advancements in medical simulation will increase the quality of tactical medical training of our Coast Guard members.”

This action follows the agency’s April 27, 2017, suspension of the drills, which was announced by Rep. Roybal-Allard.

“PETA applauds the Coast Guard for its wise decision to pursue such a sensible reform,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “We’re grateful to Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, a leader with insight and heart who understands that progress involves respect for animals and service members, whose lives depend on modern simulation-based training.”

In April 2012, PETA released an eyewitness investigation into Coast Guard trauma training. In the video, instructors cut off inadequately sedated goats’ legs with tree trimmers, cut into their abdomens and pull out their organs, and stab them with scalpels as they moan and kick. In 2014, the Coast Guard met with PETA and reduced its animal use in training drills by 50 percent.

The other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces still use animals in trauma training, despite regulations requiring the use of non-animal training methods when possible and military studies showing that advanced human simulation models teach trauma management as well as or better than using live animals.

The bipartisan Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act (H.R. 1243) currently has 144 congressional cosponsors and, if enacted, would require the use of human simulation models instead of training on animals, which the Defense Health Agency describes as “outdated and cost-prohibitive.”

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— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind