According to the Washington Post, the Coast Guard announced last Thursday that they will be halting the practice of live tissue training for six months in an attempt to research animal-free alternatives. Live tissue training consists of using goats and pigs to simulate trauma that service members may experience, at sea or on the battlefield. During live tissue training, animals are under the care of an on-site veterinarian, given medications to anesthetize them so they feel no pain, and afterwards they are euthanized. The Coast Guard has been under scrutiny for a video published by PETA showing animals appearing to not be fully under anesthesia during the training and members of the Coast Guard were seen joking during the video.

The video, narrated by film director Oliver Stone, “showed course instructors … repeatedly cutting off the limbs of live goats with tree trimmers, stabbing the animals with scalpels, and cutting into their abdomens to pull out their organs as they twitched, moaned, and kicked,” PETA said. “Veterinarians who viewed the video confirmed that these are signs that the goats were not adequately anesthetized and were likely feeling pain.

“The video also showed a course instructor … who cheerfully whistled as he cut the legs off goats as well as Coast Guard participants who joked about writing a song about mutilating the animals.”- Washington Post

In 2013, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 pushed the DoD into looking for alternatives to live tissue training. Legislation has been introduced to phase out the live tissue training all together by October 2022. PETA has been the main driving force behind the legislation.

Many SOFREP writers have covered PETA’s attempt to halt live tissue training for several years, including Glen Doherty, Jack Murphy, Travis Allen, and myself. When you speak to any service member who has had the live tissue training and used the skills to treat themselves or their fellow service members overseas, they will tell you that the live tissue training is irreplaceable. When you have a life in your hands, animal or human, you act differently than you would a simulator. You are under a different type of stress that is hard to replicate.

Instead of caving to PETA’s requests, a serious look should be given to the companies administering the training. Live tissue training can be done respectfully and responsibly. Live tissue training if done right, saves lives.

Featured image courtesy of Youtube