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Urgent: Tell Congress to End Military Trauma Training on Animals

We all know that the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces face horrors on the battlefield, and many are tragically wounded in the line of duty. What you might not know is that medics and soldiers are forced to harm animals to learn how to treat traumatic wounds—even though sophisticated, superior non-animal methods are available and used on some bases.

In these trauma- and chemical-casualty training exercises, goats, pigs, and monkeys are shot, burned, mutilated, poisoned, and killed—many times in unsanitary conditions.

"No animal model can adequately duplicate the anatomy and physiology of injuries inflicted upon the human body in war." —Michael P. Murphy, M.D., associate professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004, 2007), and medical general counsel for Iraq War Veterans Organization

During one of these training exercises, a Navy corpsman told The New York Times that instructors "shot [his pig] twice in the face with a 9-millimeter pistol, and then six times with an AK-47 and then twice with a 12-gauge shotgun. And then he was set on fire." In another trauma-training exercise, the San Antonio Express-News described a trauma course in which 990 living goats had their legs broken and amputated. Internal military documents have also shown that monkeys are repeatedly exposed to chemical nerve agents, and a medic described his animal's reaction as similar to a dog "shitting razor blades."

Numerous humane teaching methods are more effective than using animals, including rotations in trauma hospitals, the military's own Combat Trauma Patient Simulator, high-tech interactive computer simulations, and the TraumaMan system that has been approved by the American College of Surgeons, among others. The Air Force Expeditionary Medical Skills Institute's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills and the Naval Trauma Training Center in Los Angeles have both confirmed that they do not use any animals for trauma-training exercises, proving that animals are not necessary to teach human medicine.


Please send a polite e-mail to your Congressional representative urging him or her to contact the Secretary of the Army and the Army Surgeon General to insist that they ban the military's use of animals in trauma- and chemical-casualty training courses and instead use available non-animal teaching methods.


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