People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activists say they will ramp up their efforts to halt military training they say harms and even kills animals. The organization is urging the Army and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to turn exclusively to modern training equipment -- such as computer simulators.
PETA says the United States is one of only six NATO nations that still uses live animals in military medical training. PETA's director of lab investigations Justin Goodman says it's the military's own study that reveals the dangers.
"The Department of Defense initiated a $20 million study looking at the effectiveness of simulators versus shooting and stabbing animals to teach battlefield medical skills," Goodman says. "The results showed that modern medical simulators teach life-saving battle skills as well as or better than hurting animals and that's what PETA's been saying for 30 years."
Goodman says it's that military on which PETA has based its stepped-up campaign. He says the organization's protective stance has significant backing.
"Our efforts have been supported by veterans, doctors and researchers around the world. And the evidence isn't new. The DoD now has the evidence that it generated itself and we're asking them to simply heed this new data and modernize their training practices," says Goodman.
An Army spokesman says live animals will continue to be a viable training option... but there are ongoing efforts to refine and reduce the use of live animals.