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No More Pigs And Goats For Marine Corps Trauma Training?

For years, Marines and Navy corpsmen learning how to perform trauma surgery have practiced on live animals. But new devices that simulate the look, feel, and smell of emergency medical practices could one day replace the 6,000 live animals used by the military each year, according to the Marine Corps Times.

The MC Times reports companies like Strategic Operations Inc. have created alternatives to using live animals in combat training - like the Human Worn Partial Task Surgical Simulator, or “Cut Suit.” Marines or Navy corpsman can practice on a volunteer wearing the suit, which simulates human organs and blood vessels. You can watch a video of the cut suit by clicking here. It looked so authentic to me (an admitted layperson) that I actually felt faint (and a little nauseated) watching it.

According to the MC Times, practicing on the simulated devices might provide superior training to cutting into live animals:

A recent study at Rocky Vista University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, Colo., found that second-year medical students who used the “Cut Suit” as a surgical simulator in training were better skilled and more prepared for stressful clinical rotations.

Animal rights groups have been advocating for years to change the military's policy toward using live animals in training. According to the Humane Society of the United States:

In combat trauma training, live goats and pigs are intentionally stabbed, shot, burned, have their limbs amputated and/or have their bones broken. The animals are anesthetized before the procedures and euthanized following the training.

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