RICHMOND (AP) -- The Coast Guard is defending the practice of using goats and other live animals as subjects for combat medical training. It comes after animal rights activists released a video of a goat's legs being removed with tree trimmers during what it said was training for Coast Guard personnel.
A Coast Guard spokesman confirmed it has used live goats in training for dealing with combat injuries but couldn't verify if the training in the video involved its personnel.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released the tape Wednesday and called on the Pentagon to stop the practice. The Norfolk-based group also is calling on the Virginia Beach Zoning Administration to immediately investigate, saying officials say that kind of training isn't authorized for the agricultural land.
The animal rights group said the undercover showed military instructors contracted by the Coast Guard cutting off an anesthetized goat's legs as part of a training exercise. They say veterinarians who viewed the video believe the goats were not adequately anesthetized and were likely feeling pain.
PETA Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo said, "It's long past time for the military to make a complete switch to the effective, high-tech trauma training simulators that are widely used around the world."
PETA notes that state-of-the-art human-patient simulators are already in use at some military installations.
The group says 50 members of Congress, including Virginia Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th District) are cosponsoring legislation, H.R. 1417, to phase out the use of animals and to use only human-based methods for training members of the Armed Forces in the treatment of severe combat injuries.