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

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Buffalo Medics, Firefighter Keep Working in Crash

Rural Metro medics describe crash that overturned their ambulance.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Drone Delays Landing of Ohio Medical Helicopter

Miami Valley Hospital incident raises questions over legalities of drones.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Killed in New Mexico Medical Plane Crash

Crash near fairgrounds claims patient and crew of three.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Involved in Crash

Odessa ambulance and car collide during response.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Building Explosion, Collapse in Paris Suburb

Death toll rises to eight after blast in Rosny-sous-Bois.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

NTSB investigates crash that killed four.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? Scranton

JEMS Editor-in-Chief visits his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

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

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


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

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


More Product Videos >