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Post criticized for animal treatment
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On Wednesday, the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals protested the use of live pigs in training on Fort Stewart.
PETA sent a letter to the garrison commander of Fort Stewart urging him to launch an investigation into the deadly trauma-training exercises in which they claim live pigs are stabbed, burned and killed.
Post officials said the pigs were needed to provide the best training available for combat medics.
The correspondence, addressed to Col. Todd Buchs, stated that medics were using live pigs as “stand-ins” for wounded soldiers before
killing them, violating the Department of Defense’s
animal welfare regulation
that requires the use of non-animal methods when such methods are available.
“Not only is the military cutting into the bodies of live pigs, it’s also apparently cutting corners with its own animal welfare regulations,” said Kathy Guillermo, director of PETA's Laboratory Investigations Department. “Our troops deserve the very best, so why is the military still stabbing, burning and shooting animals when it could be using the very latest equipment to train medics to save soldiers’ lives?”
Military officials responded to PETA’s claims in an e-mail, saying “deeply anesthetized goats and pigs, as well as a host of non-animal alternatives” were used.
“While training on simulators can help medical personnel gain a familiarity with techniques, the myriad of physiological responses present in a live trauma patient teaches them to make rapid decisions and focus on life saving efforts,” the e-mail said.  
Despite the organization’s concern, military officials said their intent was to continue to minimize the use of animals in all forms of training in order to comply with DOD directives and that the proper procedures are always implemented to ensure the animals are treated humanely, without experiencing any pain or distress.
“They are deeply anesthetized during all procedures and euthanized without regaining consciousness when the training has ended. Animals used in chemical casualty training recover completely and display no behavioral or physical ill effects in the days and weeks after the exercise,” the response said.
“As part of our program, we embrace the three R's. Reduction; procedures or measures taken to reduce the number of animals used, refinement; procedures or measures taken to eliminate or minimize pain or distress in the animal or enhance animal well-being and, replacement; procedures or measures that eliminate the use of animals.”
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