Congressman Ted Lieu of California and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently delivered a briefing in Washington, D.C. on a bill titled the Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training Practices Act. The bill previously died in 2013, but was re-introduced in 2015. The most recent update shows the bill currently being reviewed by the House Armed Services Committee. The bill states that the Department of Defense uses more than 6,000 live animals each year to train physicians, medics, corpsmen, and other personnel in methods of responding to severe battlefield injuries. The purpose of the bill is to push the military into utilizing only cadavers, simulators, and other training aids that replicate traumatic injuries.

Companies that are authorized to conduct live-tissue training (LTT) have to go through a specific certification process to become DoD approved, and they must follow guidelines established by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. They must have a veterinarian present during all the training to ensure that the animals are cared for properly and to administer anesthesia throughout the exercises. The animals are then euthanized afterwards. Nobody wants to see animals hurt, but contrary to what PETA is saying, these animals do not suffer or feel pain due to the medication they are given.

The animals sacrifice their lives so that doctors, medics, and forward operators can have the most realistic experience possible. There is not a medical simulator, makeup, or mannequin that can simulate both the physical reaction and internal mental pressure and stress a person feels when trying to save a life.

“The emotional and physiological response to training with live anatomy and the stress of keeping a specimen alive for many hours best prepares Marines for actual casualties in stressful combat conditions,” said Col. Sean Gibson, spokesman with the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.