As a retired U.S. Navy physician who has served as the commanding officer of two Navy teaching hospitals, I disagree with Jim Hanson’s claim that using live animals is an effective teaching method for military medical training (“Save people, not pets,”Commentary, May 26).
Pigs’ and goats’ bodies are very different from those of humans - from anatomical landmarks and skin thickness to organ structure and limb size. Wounding and killing animals are not the most effective ways to teach medics how to save human lives.
Researchers already have developed various simulators that accurately replicate human anatomy. The U.S. military funded the development of a simulator that teaches management of hemorrhage, which is the most common cause of preventable battlefield death. Others have developed additional advanced non-animal methods to study brain trauma, chemical casualty management and many other types of injuries.
The military should end the use of animals for medical training and invest in these more modern approaches that provide the best training to care for our troops.
REAR ADM. MARION BALSAM
Medical Corps, U.S. Navy (retired)
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