February 26, 2015

Wyden Bill Requires Most Up-To-Date Military Medical Training, Ends Unnecessary Use of Live Animals

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today introduced legislation that would require the Defense Department to use the most up-to-date military medical training methods, and to phase out the outdated and unnecessary use of live animals in combat trauma courses for U.S. armed forces.

Even while new high-tech simulators, like the “Cut Suit,” can reproduce the feeling, appearance and even smell of combat injuries, the Department of Defense still relies on outdated training methods that kill or injure roughly 8,500 goats and pigs every year, as part of training for medics in the armed forces, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act ensures the military employs the most up-to-date training methods available by encouraging use of these simulators and phasing out the use of live animals over the next five years.

“Our soldiers deserve nothing less than medics with access to the most modern, effective training available. Killing live animals is unnecessary and counterproductive when better methods of training are already being used,” Wyden said. “This bill makes sure our military medics are trained using the newest – and best – technology on the market so they know exactly what to do when it counts.”

A 2014 study by the U.S. Air Force comparing simulators and pigs concluded that “artificial simulator and live animal training produce equivalent levels of self-efficacy after initial training.” More than 95 percent of civilian trauma programs already use simulators instead of animals.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., cosponsored the bill. Wyden first introduced the bill in 2012. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., introduced a similar version of the bill today in the House of Representatives.