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Air Force Kills Pigs in Combat Trauma Training Course

Combat TrainingPigs were killed in a combat trauma training course conducted at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., last weekend. A PCRM legal complaint attempting to halt the training pointed out that human-centered training methods could have saved the pigs and provided Air Force Special Operations pararescue jumpers superior training.

“The scheduled unnecessary use and killing of pigs in an Air Force combat trauma training course constitutes a serious violation of the DoD instruction regarding animal use due to the availability of superior human-based training methods,” said the complaint to the surgeon general of the Air Force. “To prevent this noncompliance the Air Force and DoD must: 1) immediately halt the use of animals in the course scheduled for March 1 and 2 in Arizona, and; 2) implement superior nonanimal training methods.”

The complaint was signed by PCRM director of academic affairs John J. John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., as well as trauma surgeon Marie Crandall, M.D., retired Army neurosurgeon William J. Morris, M.D., and Arizona physician David Jacobs, M.D.

In the course, pigs were rendered unconscious and subject to amputations, burns, and abdominal evisceration. However, nonanimal, human-based training methods exist. The Air Force’s own Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills exclusively uses high-tech simulators and human cadavers instead of animals.

The Cut Suit, which was specifically designed for combat trauma training courses, replicates the experience of performing emergency medical procedures on a living trauma patient. Body armor and a uniform can be worn by a patient (who is actually an actor), and the trainees can apply tourniquets, control severe bleeding, and manage collapsed lungs.

Later this month, PCRM will bring the Cut Suit and other human-centered trauma training methods to Capitol Hill so that legislators and their staff can see firsthand how the military can replace the use of live animals. Congressman Bob Filner, who last year introduced the BEST Practices Act, will speak at the event. Currently, the legislation has 50 sponsors and PCRM is working to make the bill into law.

To ask the Air Force to replace the use of pigs in future combat trauma training courses, visit


PCRM Online,
March 2012



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