Battleland

Training Troops for the Gore of War

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Army

U.S. Army personnel prepare to conduct a tube thoracostomy – intended to drain excess air and blood from the chest cavity – on a goat.

Louis H. Smith IV has been an Army combat medic for a decade, and currently is serving in Afghanistan as the medical officer for the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment. He argues, in a recent post on Small Wars Journal, that soldiers need better medical training to save the lives of their buddies on the battlefield.

The best way to do that, he writes, is to train soldiers headed into combat on live animals before deployment:

We decided on live tissue training because nothing else can come close to replicating the experience of treating traumatic injuries.  It was important for us to choose a civilian medical education company that had a good reputation within the military community for providing a quality realistic product.  With the potential for negative reactions from certain advocacy groups it was equally important that we use a company that had a good track record for following all DoD and Department of the Army regulations regarding live tissue…

The use of an off post site came with the added benefit of ballistic wounding.  Ballistic wounding would allow the instructors to create wounds that closely resemble the blast injuries that the squadron would face in Afghanistan…

All live tissue models that were used were completely anesthetized for the duration of this training and euthanized in a humane manner upon completion…

He doesn’t identify the kinds of animals used (goats often are) or the company that trained his Army unit.

The “certain advocacy groups” he mentions, but doesn’t name, include People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which have fought the use of such animals in military medical training for years.

“The suggestion that shooting, cutting up and dismembering live animals improves the treatment of humans on the battlefield is preposterous and is not supported by science, common sense or ethics,” says PETA’s Justin Goodman. “Studies show that lifelike simulators better equip trainees to treat human traumatic injuries in terms of both skill acquisition and psychological preparedness.” Goodman recently co-wrote an article in Military Medicine that showed 22 of 28 NATO nations do not use animals in their military medical training.

In fact, there is a push in the military to use manikins and other simulators to reduce the need for animals. Last week, the Army paid $81,210 for nine manikins, including two “GSW” – gunshot wound – versions and two “blast” versions. The service also bought single manikins for training troops on “pelvis with GSW to groin,” “partial leg amputation (right)” and “partial leg amputation (left).”

But Smith insists nothing beats practicing on a living creature:

We have multiple documented incidents that clearly show that the live tissue training our paratroopers received prior to deployment to Afghanistan was instrumental in lives being saved on the battlefield…

Arguments can be made for or against the use of live tissue training for non-Medics. What cannot be argued is that every single one of the 46 traumatic injuries that the squadron had a hand in treating or evacuating during the first 115 days of the deployment was initially cared for by non-medics. Of those 46 casualties, one was the fourth quadruple amputee in the history of US Army Medicine to have survived his wounds.

17 comments
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RESISTANCE
RESISTANCE

How stupid. Unless I was getting deployed with goats in my unit, why the hell would I want to know anything about a goats anatomy ? The only thing I need to know is what kind of sauce goes with goat shish kabob. All soldiers should be trained on real people.  My medical training in Basic Training was good but incomplete. Training  two to three members of a platoon a month at a real hospital or a field hospital with surgeons and nurses would be the best. Leave healthy animals alone.

Gina
Gina

Beautiful amp; true.

Gina
Gina

Beautiful amp; true.

Gina
Gina

Those were meant for anonymous 15 k

anonymous_15_UK
anonymous_15_UK

“Live Tissue Models”...really? THERE IS SOMEONE IN THERE. These gentle beings are a page from God’s sketchbook, as are all non human beings. We are capable of sin, they are not; therefore they are holier than man and truly a reflection of our creator. Humans are here to TEND to animals (read: protect from predators, harm, from wandering off cliffs...) not to exploit them. (I’m looking at you, ANYONE/EVERYONE who has ever participated in the pharmaceutical industry, the medical research and sciences industry, with companies that test on/ torture/ mutilate/ murder animals; animal-for-human-consumption clothing and food industries, who make it oh so easy to to mindlessly cause harm, and all non-vegans who are too inept/ poorly educated/ complacent to see through the propagandized Americanized industrialized state of the world today.) The above story is so morally and in every other way truly corrupt and wrong; however, these practices are in retrospect mild-mannered compared with the ways that innocent, aware, conscious...gentle non human beings are today. YOU have to take responsibility to change that, everyone must.  

anonymous_15_UK
anonymous_15_UK

“Live Tissue Models”...really? THERE IS SOMEONE IN THERE. These gentle beings are a page from God’s sketchbook, as are all non human beings. We are capable of sin, they are not; therefore they are holier than man and truly a reflection of our creator. Humans are here to TEND to animals (read: protect from predators, harm, from wandering off cliffs...) not to exploit them. (I’m looking at you, ANYONE/EVERYONE who has ever participated in the pharmaceutical industry, the medical research and sciences industry, with companies that test on/ torture/ mutilate/ murder animals; animal-for-human-consumption clothing and food industries, who make it oh so easy to to mindlessly cause harm, and all non-vegans who are too inept/ poorly educated/ complacent to see through the propagandized Americanized industrialized state of the world today.) The above story is so morally and in every other way truly corrupt and wrong; however, these practices are in retrospect mild-mannered compared with the ways that innocent, aware, conscious...gentle non human beings are today. YOU have to take responsibility to change that, everyone must.  

Whatnow05
Whatnow05

The pigs are unconscious and doped on ketamine. Any sign of movements prompts the vets to give more medication. Some medical schools do the same thing. It is unfortunate that live animals give their lives, but hands down it's the best training for Emergency medicine aside from guinea pigging people in the ER... Which is where most med students and residents learn. I can say this because I've experienced this first hand. The dummies/cadavers dont compare for Emergency medicine or learning other invasive procedures. (You can argue a dummie, but until you work on both you'll see  150k dummies lose)   

It's not pretty or kind, or glorified,  but it is necessary.  I hope everyone learning emergency medicine has such an opportunity v. trying it out on person first.

benjamin haas
benjamin haas

You cannot claim to love animals and be in support of this barbaric practice, it is an untenable position. What is the difference from a dog, pig or goat in terms of value? Pigs are actually the most intelligent of the three species, and it is only habit that allows you to draw a distinction, so how would you fell if you pet were shot, just to suffer for 24 hours then to be killed anyway, so a military member can feel accomplished ?   In fact trying to manage those to positions is by its very nature a contradiction in terms.  Which mean it defies logic, so any answer you can come up with: God, Nationalism, or anything else, is just an alibi for feeling better about slaughter and torture (I assume the idea of torture would offend many, though given the military's defense of torture practices in Gitmo and beyond I add slaughter hoping that helps make the point.)  There are models, computerized and lifelike, that are more accurate representations of human anatomy than pigs or goats, that are used by 98% of medical schools in this country.  So don't tell me I have to trade places with the goat simply because I don't want s/he tortured, using animals is this way is just simple narrow-minded brutality and totally indefensible.  Finally I am sure someone will say that these models are expensive, well given that the military is the most well funded program in the entire country I am pretty sure they can afford it.  Like eating meat generally , but I am not even here to have that conversation necessarily (though it's as good as place as any I suppose), these practices are the height of human arrogance and a crime that should not go unpunished.       

spwright1
spwright1

Mon. 8/27/12

It is my understanding that the USArmy Special Forces use live pigs to train future Green Berets how to survive GunShotWounds.

The pig is shot 3 times amp; the S F Candidate must keep the Pig Alive until the next morning.

The Life of a Pig vs the Life of a American.  I chose the American Life each amp; every time.

amp; Yes I am a Dog Lover amp; Love Animals.

SPW in Alaska "Airborne"

ThomasX
ThomasX

Clearly you DON'T love or respect animals. The fact is that humans are inflicting unconscionable pain, suffering and death on countless innocent animals. Humans are making war among themselves and the animals are paying the price for human ignorance, greed, apathy, and blood lust. It isn't a matter of "pig life vs the life of an American" and the atrocities inflicted on animals are UNNECESSARY, they are cruel and they are  unjustifiable. There are SEVERAL humane, non animal alternatives. Animals are not here for humans to torture, maim, mutilate and murder, they have their own interests and purpose on this Earth.  Humans are not the   'superior' being' they are the destroyers of life and of this planet. The world needs to wake up before it's too late.

Gina
Gina

Thank you for stating so clearly, exactly what I say..... There's absolutely no justifiable excuse fore these horrible amp; cruel acts.

Richard Manning
Richard Manning

And God said 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that is creeping on the earth". If shooting and then operating on 1000 animals saves one soldiers life it's a good trade. PETA and their ilk need to volunter themselves in place of the goats if they are so concerned.

Gina
Gina

Pretty sure God did not intend for humans to be so self-serving, cruel, and generally ignorant. Bible readers need to open their hearts and minds, and not always glean selfish small-minded translations.

Joanne John
Joanne John

Can't believe you actually justified yourself with a quote from the Bible. No, 1000 animals for a human life is NOT a fair trade. It's because people like you that animals continue to be considered below humans. No, animals are LIVE creatures who deserve the same respect as humans. If you read the Bible, then you would know it, you ignorant.

ThomasX
ThomasX

Shooting and operating on 1000 animals is a cruel ATROCITY. There is no justification for the unconscionable pain, suffering and violent deaths of innocent beings. NONE.

“If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.” ― C.S. Lewis 

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