In a previous essay called "Don't Let the Military Get Your Goat" I wrote about the abuse of goats in what's called live tissue training, a barbaric practice during which humans torture animals to practice war zone emergency techniques. I wrote about undercover footage, shot by an anonymous whistle-blower, that "shows lopping shears and scalpels being used to inflict wounds and amputate the legs of anesthetized goats so trainees can practice war zone emergency techniques. In one scene, a goat is heard moaning. In another, a prone goat kicks, prompting a man attending to the animal to call for 'another bump' of anesthesia."
The use of goats to train military medics is in the news once again. And now the Pentagon will have to find ways to rely less on animals and more on simulators that mimic the human body. According to the BBC report, "Live tissue training, which dates back to the Vietnam War, has proved controversial since 1983, when it was revealed that military personnel planned to shoot dozens of anesthetised dogs strung on nylon mesh slings in an indoor firing range. The ensuing uproar forced the then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger to decree that no more canines would be used."
A recent study was "not able to demonstrate a clear benefit" of using live animals
Live tissue training isn't necessary at all. A recent study by the Israeli Defence Force "found that training with mannequins had a positive effect on the self-confidence of medics, but researchers were 'not able to demonstrate a clear benefit' of using live animals to the same ends."
The United States military are in the minority: 22 of 28 NATO countries do not use animals in combat medical training.
Why goats and not dogs?
Goats don't like pain and suffering and don't suffer any less than dogs so there are ethical as well as scientific reasons to stop abusing them. Goats are fun-loving animals and just a few weeks ago on a ride north of my hometown of Boulder, Colorado I watched a group playing king of the mountain and clearly having fun. Everyone on the ride enjoyed the respite. Just yesterday at the home of my friends Don and Joan Hobbs I met Brandy, a lovely and friendly goat, and her good friend Doink, a young pig. I couldn't imagine harming Daisy any more than intentionally causing enduring pain and suffering to a dog.
Let's stop the practice of live tissue training now. Please contact members of Congress and ask them to stop this unnecessary "research". It's about time to totally ban the use of animals.