In one academic training video, a live Vervet monkey is force-dosed with the drugphysostigmine to mimic a nerve gas attack. Students see text notes describing what the monkey will endure. Meanwhile the animal seizes uncontrollably. Bodily fluids leak and he goes into respiratory failure.
I ask my legislators to back H.R. 4269, a bill that gradually replaces old-fashioned animal experiments with human-focused methods. H.R. 4269, the BEST Practices Act, modernizes military medical corps. I urge the DoD to implement animal-free training for the betterment of animals and humans.
"No animal model can adequately duplicate the anatomy and physiology of injuries inflicted upon the human body in war," claims Michael P. Murphy, MD, Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004, 2007) and medical general counsel for Iraq War Veterans Organization. Indeed, practical application is compromised by vast differences between species.
When goats and pigs represent humans in the Amy's Tactical Combat Medical Care course, trainees face incompatible variables: Humans have larger limbs and torsos than goats or pigs; their skin is more dense; and human organs, head/neck, ribcage, blood vessels and airway don't resemble those of goats or pigs. Why are soldiers armed with skills irrelevant to human casualties?
Warfare animal drills are also profoundly inhumane. For example, the U.S. Army overdoses Vervet monkeys with the drug physostigmine to mimic nerve gas strikes. Primates suffer seizures, respiratory failure and death. This crude "Chemical Casualty Resuscitation Practical Exercise" should rely on human-based tools. John Pawlowski, M.D., Ph.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center anesthesia director and Harvard Medical School assistant professor, replicates biological and nerve gas attacks with simulators that "copy" human symptoms. At medical facilities nationwide, similar systems already prep staff for terrorist-related mass casualty incidents.
The military amputates goats' legs and bombs pigs to teach combat trauma. These barbaric exercises can easily be updated with simulators, human cadavers, and hands-on aid at civilian trauma centers. First responder training can incorporate Laerdal's SimMan, CHI Systems' HapMed limb simulator, or other anatomically correct models.
Animal experiments waste time and money. Please sponsor human-centered training with your support of H.R. 4269, the BEST Practices Act. Please prioritize animal-free military training now.