Pentagon defends Goat Lab — halfheartedly

Actually, this is someone else's goat, roasting on the interwebs... we don't eat the same goats used in live tissue training (too full of medicines!)

Actually, this is someone else’s goat, roasting on the interwebs… we don’t eat the same goats used in live tissue training (too full of goat medicines!)

Pentagon lawyers have released a weak, feeble defense of Fort Bragg’s Med Lab, where special operations medics’ skills are honed on live animal tissues before they have to perform the same treatments on combat-wounded team members, allies, or even enemy detainees.

The report tried to appease the animal-rights extremists by, for example, banning live tissue training in team-level trauma cross-training.

Naturally, this thrown bone did not satisfy People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the overt arm of the violent Animal Liberation Front terrorist group. PETA has made an end to the lab one of its highest priorities. The extremist group also opposes: clothing made of animal hides and shoes made of leather; ownership of pets (didn’t you know Granny’s Shih-Tzu years to be returned to its pack in the forest?); and animal models in medical research.

No pun intended, they’re barking mad. But they do have a fellow crank in Congress (from California, naturally), and he stuck legislation threatening the med lab in an appropriations bill. We’ve previously covered this issue in these pages, and now here’s an update from the Fayetteville Observer:

The Pentagon said in a report this month that an early transition from using live animals in trauma training would potentially lead to more battlefield deaths.

The Department of Defense report was compiled for members of Congress to outline the military’s strategy for a transition from using animals for trauma training.

The four-page report says the total investment required to stop using live animals is unknown but highlights a $20 million, three-year research effort that began in 2010.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which provided the report to the Observer, criticized the document Thursday.

“The Department of Defense report released today is a regurgitation of baseless excuses for the continued shooting, stabbing, dismembering and killing of thousands of animals in crude medical training drills,” said Justin Goodman, PETA’s director of laboratory investigations.

The military’s use of live animals in trauma training has been controversial, particularly among animal activists.

Government documents have shown that, on average, soldiers on Fort Bragg have killed 300 goats a month for medical trauma training that supporters said helps save lives.

The crowd at PETA loves them some goats, at least in the abstract. It bothers them that they are killed:

PETA officials estimate that thousands of animals are killed during similar training across the military and have argued that simulators provide better training.

Previously, PETA has said that Fort Bragg training accounts for a third of all animal deaths caused by the military each year.

Meanwhile, there’s a cruel organization that operates an animal shelter that puts a happy face on to receive animals for “adoption” — and then kills damn near all of them. Tens of thousands of ’em. Then they throw their carcasses in garbage bags and stack them up in big, unsanitary piles. And they don’t even train a single useful trauma medic.

Its operator? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

6 thoughts on “Pentagon defends Goat Lab — halfheartedly

  1. RRoy

    I’m a veterinarian trained at a canadian college. As of 2009, we performed terminal surgical procedures on sheep (animal placed under GA, operated on, and euthanized). The animals were treated with a lot of respect and care, and I would say 99% of the class understood solemnly that this was an important step to becoming proficient surgeons. I still feel that way. I am told similar exercises are used to train human surgeons.

    1. Hognose Post author

      The same thing occurs at Med Lab. The animal patients used for surgical procedures, wound care, and trauma lab are anesthetized appropriately and are ultimately humanely euthanized and the remains destroyed. The same in medical cross training. Some procedures (such as wound care) require the patient to recover from general anesthetic, but they are kept on pain medication. The trainees are supervised by experienced medics and the care and treatment of the patients is observed by a staff veterinarian.

      As you know, a caprine is a fairly good model of other mammalian systems, whether you’ll wind up working on combat-traumatized humans or your neighbors’ cats and horses. Big enough to work on and the skills to be transferable. Many years ago, Med Lab used dogs as the patients, which was an emotional test of the medics as well; it’s a damn sight harder to get emotionally attached to a goat.

      The Bragg facility is licensed and must meet all the standards a university or pharma’s animal research lab does. Of course, the PETA tools oppose that research, too — research which brings us more benefits all the time. You can’t computer model mammalian systems well in the 2013 state of the art, you need an actual animal model before you go to human testing.

      The number of lives that have been saved because these poor goats have given our medics real-world issues with amputations, arterial bleeding and multiple trauma is incalculable. Current best practices with clotting agents and tourniquets were developed on animals in the lab. The innovations we field in trauma medicine quickly propagate to civilian EMS providers, also. Combat-inspired tourniquet application saved many lives in the Boston bombings.

  2. AndyN

    It’s not often that leftists cause a problem for which they’ve already prepared a viable solution. If they manage to shut down goat lab, I propose moving the training facility to Detroit. In their drive to build a progressive utopia, they’ve established a population that would provide nearly 10,000 assaults a year that are severe enough to report to the police. I’m confident that a high percentage of the victims find themselves in need of trauma care.

    As a bonus, they’ve also created an environment in which there’s ample available housing in which to quarter students.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Heh. There’s the Tent Generation at Camp Mackall, the Tarpaper Shacks Generation, and the Permanent Facilities and Million Dollar Crapper Generation. And there could be the Dog Lab, Goat Lab, Pistons-Fan Lab generations of medics! Quartered in buildings that make them the Urban Ruins Generation.

  3. Aesop

    FWIW, SF has my permission to desist from using innocent goats, and instead start using the far from endangered Two-Legged Califrutopian Jackass, (Latin “equus asinus californicus democratis”) particularly those who count the animal as their party’s mascot.

    That’s a twofer in my book.

  4. Tom Schultz

    This is probably apocryphal but story was going around in the early 60’s that the AMA was ‘deeply concerned’ about the depth of training given to SF Medics. The AMA was contending that only MDs should be performing complicated procedures. MGEN Yarborough jumped in and told them that he shared their concerns and agreed with them. He then came up with the numbers of medics on operational detachments and gave the AMA the number of MDs that he would be more than happy to have drafted into active duty to replace them. The number ran into the thousands. Strangely enough the AMA folded their tents and softly stole away.

    True? I have no idea, but the story was around for quite awhile, and it sure sounded like a response that Gen Y would have made.

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