PETA Calls On Australian Defence Force to Adhere to Regulations, End Trauma Training on Pigs in Favour of Modern Training Tools

For Immediate Release:

10 September 2014

Canberra – In light of new military studies conducted at major universities showing that modern simulators teach life-saving battlefield medical skills as well as or better than cutting up and killing pigs or other animals, PETA is intensifying its call on the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to stop using live animals in medical training drills.

In a letter sent today to the Minister for Defence, David Johnston, PETA highlights research presented at the Military Health System Research Symposium – the US Department of Defense’s (DOD) “premier scientific meeting” – in Florida last month, including the following:

  • A DOD-funded study found that medics who were taught haemorrhage control and other emergency medical procedures on human simulators were as proficient as those taught using animals and that the two methods produced similar degrees of stress in trainees.
  • A DOD-funded study concluded that medical staff who were taught paediatric intubation skills on simulators were more proficient than those trained on live cats.
  • A Canadian Forces Health Services study found that a life-like human-patient simulator was as effective as the use of live animals in teaching traumatic-injury management to military medical technicians.

The DOD-supported studies were commissioned as part of a three-year, $20 million, tax-funded project initiated in 2010 to compare the effectiveness of simulators with that of animal use.

“Across the board, these new military studies prove that medical personnel can effectively learn to save lives on the battlefield without taking part in trauma tests on live animals”, says PETA Director of Campaigns Jason Baker. “The ADF must take animals off the agenda and implement humane, effective and economical training methods.”

ADF regulations require the use of non-animal training methods whenever available. Nearly 80 percent of NATO nations do not use animals in military medical training, demonstrating that non-animal methods are the international standard.

Earlier this year, US Air Force researchers published a study showing that using human-patient simulators taught life-saving skills as well as animal laboratories did. In 2012, the Israel Defense Forces published a study showing that human simulators improved medical providers’ confidence in performing emergency procedures, while training on live animals did not.

In 2013 and 2014, the US Army and the US Coast Guard instituted new policies restricting the use of animals in medical training and requiring greater use of simulation and other non-animal methods. Last year, following discussions with PETA US, the Polish Armed Forces fully ended its use of animals in medical training exercises.

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