This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
When I went to medical school in the 1980s, it was common for students to cut live dogs and other animals as part of the curriculum to teach them medical concepts and skills. Since then, these cruel, cruel animal labs have been abandoned in medical schools and advanced surgical courses in favor of realistic, more humane, more cost-effective, and more efficient human simulators.
Apparently, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) did not receive the note on this matter.
According to federal contracts uncovered by the taxpayer watchdog White Coat Waste Project (WCW), for which I am a volunteer medical advisor, the US Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (both under the DOJ) have always conducted a ” training on living tissue â. (LTT) course. LTT is a euphemism for inflicting traumatic and life-threatening injuries on live animals to teach certain emergency medical procedures.
As the Chairman of the Department of Justice Funding Committee, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Representative of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), astutely wrote in a letter to the Department of Justice in 2019, âLTT involves intentionally injuring live animals, usually by stabbing, burning and slaughtering pigs and goats, and sometimes even dogs, and then asking trainees to make a crude attempt to repair the damageâ¦ L he use of animals for this training is expensive, outdated, unnecessary, and contested by most Americans.
Many animals die from these traumatic injuries during lessons, and even those that survive are killed in the end.
The federal government’s own studies show that human simulators like the Cut Suit, TraumaMan, and TOMManikin that mimic human anatomy, even mimicking bleeding and breathing, are more efficient and economical than these outdated animal labs. Unlike animals which are bought, transported, dismembered, killed and thrown away after each LTT course, each simulator can train many students and can be reused over and over again.
Even the US Department of Defense states in a 2016 report that the LTT is “obsolete and prohibitively expensive” and a 2017 Pentagon report claims that “living tissue training options are not anatomically accurate” . A study funded by the military at Yale concluded in 2015, “It is clear that simulated training costs less than training living tissue.” And a study funded by the U.S. military in 2020 concluded that human simulation is an effective replacement for the LTT.
Almost all civilian trauma training programs in the country now teach
rescue skills also using simulation.
Adding insult to injury, the DOJ has already spent taxpayer dollars buying high-tech trauma simulators, but still continued to squander $ 131,793 on recent and totally unnecessary LTT courses. The DOJ cannot defend this waste and abuse, so it has instead tried to keep the details under wraps, and it took a federal lawsuit by the White Coat Waste Project to remove the agency’s relevant documents.
A majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle want change and support the elimination of this outdated practice. A June 2020 national survey of 1,000 taxpayers by Lincoln Park Strategies found that 63% of them, including 66% of Republicans polled and 65% of Democrats polled, supported the effort to ask the DOJ to refund LTT.
As a doctor, medical educator and animal advocate, I oppose this senseless waste of taxpayer dollars and animal lives. There must be political support from leaders such as members of Congress and Attorney General Merrick Garland to take swift and decisive action to remove living tissue training from the program.