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The Physicians Committee



Citizen Lobbyists Urge End to Animal Use in Combat Trauma Training

Last week, PCRM members across the country participated in Citizen Lobbyist Week. You visited and called your congressperson's office and asked him or her to co-sponsor the BEST Practices Act (H.R. 1417)—a bill that would end the military's cruel and unnecessary use of animals in medical training.

The Department of Defense (DOD) currently uses more than 6,000 pigs and goats every year to teach Army medics, Navy corpsmen, and other military personnel to respond to the most common causes of preventable battlefield fatalities. In these combat trauma training courses, military trainees practice procedures including tourniquet application, surgical airway, and chest tube placement. At the end of each course, the animals are killed.

Training with SimMan simulator. Monkey used in military training.But the BEST Practices Act would improve military medical training by phasing in the use of human-based methods, primarily medical simulation, as a replacement for this live tissue training.

After gaining support through the efforts of our citizen lobbyists, the BEST Practices Act now has more than 20 co-sponsors. PCRM continues to work to pass this important legislation this year, and we need your help to get more co-sponsors. Let your U.S. representative know that the BEST Practices Act:

  • recognizes the achievements made by the DOD in the field of simulation and requires that the DOD replace the use of live tissue training with human-based methods, including high-fidelity simulators, partial task trainers, moulage, simulated combat environments, human cadavers, and rotations in civilian and military trauma centers;
  • allows the DOD ample time to develop and integrate these technologies into its training curricula (the bill requires that the DOD complete the development and validation of the human-based methods within three years and implement these technologies within five years); and
  • requires the Secretary of Defense to provide an annual report to Congress regarding the development and implementation of these human-based training methods, ensuring cooperation and clear communication between Congress and the DOD on the implementation of the law.

To ask your congressperson to pass the BEST Practices Act, visit BetterMilitaryMedicine.org.



 

PCRM Online, May 2011

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