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Your Views: Pentagon slaughters animals needlessly for training
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Note: Students from Chestatee High School wrote letters to the editor to The Times on a number of subjects as part of a social studies class project for teacher Ernie Davis. More of their letters will appear on Monday's Opinion page.

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Shot, stabbed, burned, poisoned and dismembered fully alive. The first thought to cross your mind was, maybe, a violent movie about a serial killer or even the Holocaust.

Our very own Department of Defense commits such inhumanities by the thousands. Every year, innocent, healthy animals are made to endure trauma and chemical-casualty training exercises until they are finally killed.

These training exercises are used to train soldiers to properly dress and administer to critically injured soldiers, although certain branches of our Armed Forces train their men with the numerous non-animal alternatives. Despite innumerable petitions and letters of concern, no measures have been taken to discontinue this violent abuse.

The Department of Defense, and specifically the Army, ship thousands of pigs, goats, and monkeys to their tortuous death in revolting traveling conditions every year. Once at their destination, the animals are sometimes starved, or "fasted." This prevents them from urinating or defecating due to the extreme nature of the injuries they will experience.

When brought out to the trauma and chemical-casualty training facility, they are shaved, numbered and tied down to a table. According to which training session an animal is present for, they will be shot, stabbed, poisoned, burned or dismembered while still conscious.

After this excruciation, the animals will then act as live dummies on which soldiers practice dressing injuries. This treatment is often very deep and includes open surgery. Once the poor animal has been used to his potential, he is finally killed and discarded.

Nonanimal alternatives have been established in great numbers yet, the Army refuses to convert. Some of the alternatives are Combat Trauma Patient Simulation, the TraumaMan System from Simulab Corporation, and Dr. Emad Aboud's "living" cadaver model.

Other branches of our Armed Forces currently use these humane options such as, the Air Force Expeditionary Medical Skills Institute's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills as well as the Navy Trauma Center. Still, the Army and other branches continue to use this cruel and hellish method.

This type of training must be stopped. With new and frequent advances in technology, there are more ways to conduct trauma training with out the cruel and inhumane treatment of these gentle, harmless and innocent creatures.

Lindsey Howell

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