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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) continues to inflict severe injuries on live animals in cruel live tissue trauma training exercises, even though superior non-animal methods are available and widely used by other military training facilities.
Photo from similar animal-based trauma training exercises in Denmark. © Jørn Stjerneklar
All the skills taught in these courses can be effectively taught on simulators, including Simulab Corporation's TraumaMan model, which has been approved by the American College of Surgeons as a complete replacement for using animals. More than three-quarters of all NATO countries as well as the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine use exclusively non-animal military medical training methods.
Unlike animals, realistic simulators accurately replicate human anatomy and physiology, are reusable and shareable and are more cost-effective. Military and civilian studies have found that these methods better equip trainees with the technical skills and psychological preparedness necessary to treat traumatic injuries on the battlefield. A US military study compared the self-reported effectiveness of performing surgical skills by trainees taught on simulators versus live animals and found equivalent results in both groups, concluding that, "artificial simulation is an adequate modality compared with the historical standard of live animal models".
Continuing to mutilate and kill animals for trauma training is not only extremely cruel but also appears to be a breach of the National Health and Medical Research Council's guidelines, which state that "[t]raining methods which do not use animals must be adopted wherever possible. … In addition, those planning training sessions or demonstrating equipment and techniques must make every effort to investigate, and employ when feasible, appropriate simulators or interactive computer models which may be available, and work towards the replacement of animal use with such alternatives".
You Can Help
Please urge the Australian Defence Force to stop live-animal trauma training and to switch to advanced, humane, non-animal teaching methods instead.