Congress recently passed and the president signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, a document spanning 681 pages. Included in those pages is a provision that calls on the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress by March 1, 2013, “that outlines a strategy, including a detailed timeline, to refine and, when appropriate, transition to using human-based training methods for the purpose of training members of the Armed Forces in the treatment of combat trauma injuries.” (page 187)
Across the United States, more than 95 percent of trauma training courses are taught using only human-based simulators. The American College of Surgeons has approved nonanimal models like the TraumaMan System, SimMan, and cadavers for these courses. And, according to Dr. John Pippin, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “It’s especially inhumane and especially indefensible [to use live animals] when there are alternatives in hand which not only would spare the animals the trauma of going through this but also would provide a better educational experience.”
In addition, instead of using animals, many scientists use human and animal cell, tissue, and organ cultures; chemical systems; blood products; sophisticated mathematical and computer simulations; and plastic organ models. Alternatives, such as Eytex Skintex® and epiPack, take the place of harmful tests on animals. Advances in tissue engineering and robotics, bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, metabonomics, systems biology, and in silico (computer-based) systems offer alternatives to animal use. Animal testing can take months if not years at expenses ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to multi-millions of dollars, whereas computer modeling can take place instantaneously and at far lower costs, especially the cost to the animals and their suffering. In vitro tests involving human cell and tissue cultures are faster, cheaper, and more reliable than animal tests in many instances.
Take Action: Contact the president and your legislators and thank them for helping both the animals and the soldiers of our country.
The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
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