PETA opposes Army’s training that utilizes pigs
Army medical training with pigs has PETA up in arms
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A national animal rights group is decrying the Army's plan to injure live pigs and then treat them as trauma patients to train Hawaii soldiers preparing for Iraq deployment.
The Army said the training session at Schofield Barracks is an essential part of soldiers' training and could save lives. It will continue with "live tissue training" today as planned, an Army spokesman said.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said medical groups and experts back their effort to stop the Army's treatment of animals. "Shooting and maiming pigs is as outdated as Civil War rifles," said Kathy Guillermo, of PETA, in a news release.
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An animal rights group is demanding the Army cancel a training program at Schofield Barracks today that will injure live pigs and use them as trauma patents.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the training "outdated and cruel" and claimed the pigs will be shot in an open field with military rifles such as the M16A2 and M4.
"They're likely to bleed profusely and suffer intensely in these cruel, unnecessary acts of violence," said Shalin Gala, a PETA spokesman, by phone from Norfolk, Va.
Gala said animal-based training in the military happens quite frequently around the country, and PETA is trying to raise awareness of alternatives available to reduce the use of animals, such as pigs and goats, for medical training.
PETA sent a letter to the commander of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii on Tuesday, requesting the training be canceled.
Maj. Derrick Cheng, spokesman for the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, said the training will proceed as planned today.
"Our ultimate goal is saving lives of our soldiers," he said. "We wouldn't do this training if we didn't think it was truly necessary."
For soldiers and medics preparing to deploy to Iraq, the training is "essential" to learning how to manage critically injured patients on the battlefield, he said.
He said PETA's letter misrepresents the training, which is more controlled than described.
The animals are in a controlled environment with trained individuals at hand and are treated according to federal laws, including the Animal Welfare Act, he said.
They are anesthetized throughout the training until they are killed, he added.
Cheng did not give details, including how the pigs are injured, how many are used, how long they are kept alive and how many soldiers receive the training.
He said their injuries represent battlefield injuries seen in Iraq, such as gunshot wounds.
"The goal of the training really is teaching our soldiers and medics critical lifesaving medical skills on the basis of physiology," he said.
Medics and soldiers of the division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which will deploy to Iraq later this year, will undergo the training.
The training cannot be postponed because the soldiers are scheduled to go to California soon to complete their field training, he said.
PETA said it learned of the animal-based training on Tuesday from a concerned Schofield soldier who reported that the pigs were going to be released in a field and shot.
PETA said better alternatives to animal-based training are available and in use, such as medical mannequins and military trauma centers.