Congress Orders Military to Justify Using Animals in Combat Medic Training

The Pentagon must present lawmakers with a written plan to phase out "live tissue training"


 
 

Ernesto Londono, The Washington Post | | Monday, February 25, 2013


WASHINGTON -- The war between animal activists and the Pentagon has raged for decades. You could say there's been a fair amount of collateral damage: thousands of goats and pigs have been mutilated, though the military argues the animals have not died in vain.

So it's no surprise the animal rights camp is salivating over the blow it's about to inflict on the enemy. This week, by order of Congress, the Pentagon must present lawmakers with a written plan to phase out "live tissue training," military speak for slaying animals to teach combat medics how to treat severed limbs and gunshot wounds.

The demand, tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, marks the first time Congress has ordered the Pentagon to provide a detailed plan to start relying less on animals and more on simulators. The military must also specify whether removing animals from training sessions could lead to a "reduction in the competency of combat medical personnel," according to the bill.

"Congress now acknowledges that it is wrong to harm animals for crude medical training exercises if modern and superior alternatives are available," said Justin Goodman, the director of laboratory investigations for Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, which has been fighting the use of animals in combat medic training since the early 1980s. "If the military is too entrenched to make changes on their own, Congress is going to bring pressure to bear and force that change."

The military's use of animals for medical training dates back to the Vietnam war, but it drew relatively little scrutiny until the summer of 1983, when activists caught wind of a training exercise planned at a facility in Bethesda, Md. The plan to shoot dozens of anesthetized dogs strung on nylon mesh slings in an indoor, soundproof firing range enraged animal activists and some lawmakers.

Caspar Weinberger, the defense secretary, stopped the shooting of dogs, but not goats.

In recent years, civilian trauma courses have largely abandoned the use of animals, chiefly because human simulators have come a long way.
 



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, combat medic, animals

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

FDIC 2014 CHAT: MIKE MCEVOY AND A.J. HEIGHTMAN

Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Lieutenant in Patient Death May Go Unpunished

Family upset that officer in charge may retire without any discipline.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >