More than 6,000 animals are stabbed and suffer amputations and other severe injuries every year as part of U.S. military trauma training courses. But that could soon change. A bill that would replace animal-based military training with high-tech simulators and other proven, modern methods is being re-introduced in the 112th Congress.
Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is introducing the bipartisan Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training Practices Act, or BEST Practices Act, this spring. Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., has signed on as a co-sponsor. PCRM’s pioneering efforts in this area have been endorsed by the Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees, the Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA), and the African-American Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Association.
“It is an urgent necessity for the military to replace its animal-based trauma … training programs with more effective, proven training methods, including high-fidelity human patient simulators and rotations in civilian trauma training centers,” wrote Frank E. Cohee Jr., national secretary of KWVA, in a letter to memberss of Congress. “These training methods teach medics, corpsmen and other military medical personnel skills relevant to treating human injuries.”
Under the BEST Practices Act, live animals used in combat trauma training would be replaced by superior training methods, including the Cut Suit from Strategic Operations. The bill sets a three-year timeline for the development and validation of new methods, and an additional two-year timeline for implementation. It also requires the Department of Defense to provide an annual report to Congress on its progress to ensure a safe transition.
PCRM doctors and legislative experts are reaching out to Members of Congress and urging them to support this bill.
To watch a video of the Cut Suit and to help ensure that the BEST Practices Act becomes law, go to BetterMilitaryMedicine.org.