PETA blasts military’s use of live goats for surgical training, releases undercover video
Warning: This video is graphic and disturbing
The Coast Guard is defending its practice of using live animals for combat medical training after PETA released a video this week of goats having their legs removed with tree trimmers during a training exercise.
A Coast Guard spokesman, while not commenting on whether those on the video were Coast Guard or Coast Guard-hired personnel, confirmed that live anesthetized goats are used in training, according to the Associated Press.
“Animals used in trauma training are supported and monitored by well-trained, experienced veterinary staff to ensure that appropriate anesthesia and analgesia prevent them from experiencing pain or distress,” Lt. Cmdr. Jamie C. Frederick, spokesman for the Atlantic Area, told the AP after PETA released the video and called on the Pentagon to stop the practice.
A congressman also has introduced legislation that would phase out the use of animals by the military for such training.
PETA said the undercover video it released from a whistleblower shows military instructors contracted by the Coast Guard cutting off an anesthetized goat’s legs in Virginia Beach.
In the video, the faces of the participants are blurred and they are not in uniform. The goat is motionless while its legs are cut, but it later makes a noise and moves, at which point one of the men asks for another “bump” of anesthesia.
“Effective combat trauma training and treatment results in lowering the fatality rate of U.S. troops deployed in combat situations,” Frederick said.
Other branches of the military use similar training on goats and pigs and have defended it as a way to replicate wartime injuries and prepare medics and front-line troops for treating catastrophic injuries, according to the AP report.
PETA says the practice is cruel and unnecessary — and that similar results could be gained by using simulation instead of live animals.
“Learning how to apply a tourniquet on a severed goat’s leg does not help prepare medical providers to treat an anatomically different human being wounded on the battlefield,” according to Dr. Michael P. Murphy, one of several medical professionals who signed a letter PETA sent to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta seeking an end to the practice. Murphy is an associate professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves who served two tours of duty in Iraq.
PETA has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate whether the training practices violate the Animal Welfare Act.
“With these animals, they can break their limbs, or they want to simulate broken bones or a gunshot wound, and it’s not clear if they’re anesthetized or not,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, a California Democrat who has introduced legislation that would phase out such use of animals by the military. “You’re torturing animals when you don’t have to.”
According to PETA, more than 10,000 live animals are shot, stabbed, mutilated, and killed in military training exercises each year.
“But the training exercises that are taking place in these highly secret courses bear no resemblance to real battlefield conditions — and they don’t help soldiers save the lives of their injured comrades,” the organizaton noted.
The undercover video footage leaked to PETA shows a Coast Guard training course in Virginia Beach, where members of a company called Tier 1 Group, hired by the military, are seen breaking and cutting off the limbs of live goats with tree trimmers, stabbing the animals, and pulling out their internal organs.
One instructor can be heard whistling on the video as he cuts off goat’s legs and a Coast Guard participant jokes about writing songs about mutilating the animals. Later in the day, according to the whistleblower who came to PETA, goats were shot in the face with pistols and hacked apart with an ax while still alive.
“Cruel exercises like these continue regularly across the U.S. even though most civilian facilities and many military facilities have already replaced animal laboratories with superior lifelike simulators that breathe, bleed, and even ‘die,’” PETA said.
“Unlike mutilating and killing animals, training on simulators allows medics and soldiers to practice on accurate anatomical models and repeat vital procedures until all trainees are confident and proficient.”
PETA says those wishing to voice opposition to the practice can contact U.S. Department of Defense officials.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
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