FORT BRAGG, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) — Thousands of goats at Fort Bragg will have their lives spared after a new law requires military bases to stop using animals in trauma training.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals first brought the issue up last year after undercover video revealed that instructors for Tier 1 Group conducting a Coast Guard trauma training course in Virginia Beach were cutting off goats’ limbs with tree trimmers and pulling out their internal organs.
Following the release of the video, the Department of Agriculture cited the military trauma training contractor for violating the Animal Welfare Act and the Virginia Beach Zoning Administration told the property owners this type of military training is not permitted.
“The use of goats and pigs for this type of training, if it was ever the best method, is not the best now,” Dr. John Pippin, an advocate for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, told The Fayetteville Observer. “Anyone who tells you it’s choosing between a goat and a soldier is devoid of a valid argument. That’s a cop-out. It’s not the only way or the best way.”
The Observer reports that 10,000 animals die each year during military trauma training, with a third of those deaths attributed to training on or near Fort Bragg. Government documents obtained by the Observer shows that Fort Bragg’s Army Special Operations Command received 3,600 goats for training use in 2012 and that the command planned on using 300 goats a month.
The new law in the National Defense Authorization Act calls on military bases and contractors to use simulators instead of animals by March.
“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 said in a press release. “Studies show that medical care providers who learn trauma treatment using simulators are better prepared to treat injured patients than those who are trained using animals.”
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)