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US medic training on live pigs faces opposition

The Local · 18 Oct 2011, 09:53

Published: 18 Oct 2011 09:53 GMT+02:00

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Deployment Medicine International (DMI), which claims to be the biggest trainer of US military forces in operational medicine, is trying to introduce courses for US soldiers stationed in the eastern German state of Thuringia.

The company’s so-called “Trauma Training” courses allegedly involve live pigs being given broken bones, punctured organs, and bullet wounds under a general anaesthetic and then being operated on by trainees. The animals are then euthanized while still asleep. PETA has long campaigned against the practice in the United States.

However, Major Audrey Gboney-Leon, spokeswoman for the US Army in Europe, told The Local this week: "We are not currently conducting, nor do we plan to conduct, any such training in Germany."

DMI requested permission to carry out the experiments in Bavaria last year. “But the requests were denied by state veterinary offices,” said Christina Esch, a vet and PETA spokeswoman in Germany said.

The firm is now apparently looking for other possibilities in Thuringia, despite Germany’s animal protection laws. DMI has already had one request denied by the Thuringian consumer protection office, but is now appealing the decision in a regional administrative court.

DMI denies that its legal requests are being made at the behest of the US Army. According to the company’s lawyer, Annette Steuber, DMI trains doctors - including military medics – to carry out field operations in conflict regions that lack medical infrastructure.

She added the training was necessary because injuries from explosives and bullets are nothing like those sustained in civilian life, for instance in a traffic accident. “The case is currently being processed,” a court spokesman recently told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper. “The administrative court in Gera is expecting to reach a verdict at the end of October.”

According to PETA, DMI is using the protection of the US Army to fight the ban by legal appeal. “Normally the ‘scene of the crime’ is in force on any property in Germany,” PETA scientific adviser Edmund Haferbeck told The Local. “But there are territorial exceptions for US army property. It’s a difficult legal area, but there are legal arguments that say German animal protection laws aren’t valid on US army property.”

PETA says DMI killed nearly 15,000 pigs between 2001 and 2010 during military training in the US. The animals rights group says the pigs have limbs removed, holes cut into their chests and limbs, blood vessels severed, and are stabbed in the heart.

The German army does not use live animals in military training, which was one of the reasons cited by the Bavarian court to deny the DMI request. “The Bundeswehr does not carry out any animal experiments,” a Bundeswehr officer was quoted in a PETA statement saying. “In training exercises, soldiers are trained with very good models, and animal experiments are not necessary.”

Story continues below…

“Shooting, stabbing, and killing animals for trauma exercises is not only illegal in Germany, it only offers medics second-class training,” said Harald Ullmann of PETA. “A wounded soldier, whose life is hanging by a thread, is not going to get much comfort from the fact that the medic was trained on a pig.”

Ben Knight


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:29 October 18, 2011 by Lachner
I think this is ridiculous. The pigs are used to train doctors to save soldiers' lives on the battlefield, the pigs are operated on while they are on anesthesia and then they are cooked to feed the troops. What is the difference between this and slaughtering them for meat to sell them at ReWe?

While I agree with PETA on most things, I think that this is just plain ridiculous.
10:36 October 18, 2011 by patrixmyth
Animals who have been anesthetized are never used as food. We're animals too, so the anesthesia would affect us as well.
14:49 October 18, 2011 by cklb
@ patrixmyth: really? I would suppose, since one doesn't eat the whole pig at once the little bit of anesthesia doesn't matter. Furthermore: I would think that it gets broken down during cooking...
15:24 October 18, 2011 by catjones
I always though my bratwurst had a slit; now I know it's a gash.
16:01 October 18, 2011 by Englishted
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:24 October 18, 2011 by storymann
although there is benefit in this training I am against live vivisection. Surely with the present technology in 3-D animation they could find a suitable alternative to prepare medics,corpsman and doctors realistic trama training.

I would guess it is all about money.
18:04 October 18, 2011 by Englishted
Won't this stop doctors of two certain religions training in the U.S military?
20:16 October 18, 2011 by Enough
I smell somthing piggie here!....oink oink!
00:53 October 19, 2011 by vonSchwerin

Of course, you are making an oblique reference to Jews and Muslims, and the answer is no. It will not stop them from training. Jewish law and Muslim law forbids the consumption of humans, too. But Jewish and Muslim medical students dissect cadavers. Jewish law forbids the consumption of horse. But Jewish veterinarian students operate on horses. And since the preservation of human life is the highest imperative, learning human medicine on a pig (which one isn't going to eat anyway) is most certainly not a problem for Jews and Muslims.
00:53 October 19, 2011 by chicagolive
@storymann when it comes to war zones 3-D animation does not really provide real training models the injuries that are sustained in war environments are nothing like what you see in your local ER
18:23 October 19, 2011 by Englishted

I didn't mean to make an oblique reference ,I asked the question openly and with no arterial motive ,because I don't know the answer .

However when I referred directly as in comment no5 it was stopped as to why I can't say.

I always was lead to believe pork could not be touched in these religions ,if you are correct then thank you for enlightening me.
23:37 October 22, 2011 by mikel taylor
Time for a BBQ, bring on the pork and invite all your muslim friends
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