Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ban Animal Use in Military Medical Training (says PETA and the NY Times)

The dateline for this editorial is June 25 which as we all know is the anniversary of the start of the Korean War.  How fitting that the NY Times would publish this to recommend banning live tissue training which is arguably training that has saved more American lives on the battlefield than any other training.  While the military is searching hard for simulations to replace it there is nothing that has been developed that can provide equal training benefits that will save lives on the battlefield.  

And it is ironic that they chose to use the metaphor that PETA has been waging a guerrilla war against this training since the force that has pioneered this training and executes it most extensively is Special Forces which is the force that is singularly organized, trained, educated, equipped, and optimized to support and/or conduct guerrilla warfare. 

And just as an aside, although animals are used for this training, the handling of these animals is done in an extraordinarily humane way and they are treated with dignity and respect especially because SF medics have spent so much time raising and caring for them before they are used in the final training scenarios. 

We should also remember that Doctors conduct live tissue training on humans in hospitals as part of their medical training.  Although SF medics do conduct training in hospitals they are not allowed to conduct the same type of procedures in hospitals that they must perform on the battlefield and the only way they can get that training to become the outstanding medical practitioners that they become is through live tissue training on animals.  As one Doctor used to say, SF medics should be called "wilderness doctors" because they are trained to be as proficient in the field outside of a hospital as any doctor with the same field medical kit can be (and many doctors will admit that in the field SF medics are in many ways more proficient than many doctors).

And as one of our great SF Sergeants Major once said, the first time that a medic puts his hands in the bleeding guts of a fellow soldier should not be on the actual battlefield.  But that is what this ban will cause and many American soldiers will die because of it.  I urge everyone to support the counter-guerrilla war against PETA's efforts.

I hope cooler heads will prevail in Congress and we will not put the lives of American soldiers at risk needlessly. 

PETA please find another cause for your work.

Ban Animal Use in Military Medical Training

By THE EDITORIAL BOARDJUNE 25, 2016

For years, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been waging a guerrilla war against the Pentagon over its use of live goats and pigs to train combat medics. Their primary tactic: obtaining footage of training sessionsto expose the barbarity of a practice that’s cruel and unnecessary.
The Pentagon has taken steps to phase out live-tissue training, as the practice is called, by using human-shaped simulators. But military officials have refused to do away with using animals entirely, arguing that doing so could result in more battlefield deaths.
Photo
Army flight medics train using a high-fidelity mannequin. CreditSmiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle, via Associated Press
Until relatively recently, PETA’s cause got relatively little sympathy on Capitol Hill. Representative Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat,introduced a bill in 2013 seeking to abolish the practice, but it hasn’t come close to passing. In recent months, though, PETA has gone on the offensive, and last week, 71 members of Congress, including 16 Republicans and 10 veterans, sent a letter to the secretary of defense, Ashton Carter, seeking detailed information about the use of animals in medic training and urging the department to hasten its adoption of simulators. The letter noted that military medical experts concluded in a 2014 study that using live animals offers no advantage over using simulators.
Representative Joe Heck, a Republican from Nevada and one of the two sponsors of the letter, has helped broaden support for the cause. Mr. Heck, a doctor, was medical director of the Casualty Care Research Center at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences from 1998 to 2003. He has served in the Army Reserve since 1991 and ran an emergency room combat hospital in Baghdad during one of his deployments. The letter’s other sponsor was Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat.
Separately, several medical associations — including the National Medical Association and the American Medical Student Association — have recently endorsed Mr. Johnson’s bill, which would require the Pentagon to stop using animals for medic training by 2020.
It shouldn’t take an act of Congress for the Pentagon to give up this practice. Among the 28 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 22 have banned the use of animals for medic training. The vast majority of programs in the United States that train civilian medical workers in trauma care use simulators exclusively. There’s no reason the Pentagon should continue inflicting cruelty on animals.
A version of this editorial appears in print on June 26, 2016, on page SR10 o

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