Marine Mammals Face Grave Danger


USS Massachusetts
The U.S. Navy conducts underwater military training exercises that have been known to harm marine mammals.

The U.S. Navy conducts underwater military training exercises that have been known to harm marine mamals, including whales, seals, and dolphins. The number of such exercises is set to increase to a massive scale along the Hawaiian, California, and Atlantic coasts over the next five years.

By allowing the increase in sonar blasts used during training sessions, marine mammals in these areas will be subjected to incredible pain and suffering. The loud underwater explosions have been known to cause whales to beach themselves. These blasts also have caused bleeding around the animals’ ears and brains.

The National Marine Fisheries Service should protect marine mammals rather than force them to withstand increased numbers of injuries. As long as military training exercises need to take place, they should be conducted in waters where little damage can be done to sea mammals and their habitat.

Send a note to the National Marine Fisheries Service requesting a change in location for these training exercises to protect marine mammals.

Samuel D. Rauch III
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
National Marine Fisheries Service
NOAA Fisheries Service
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tele. No.: 301-427-8000

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When you think about it…dogs really aren’t all that different from us

Those of us in the rescue community have all seen it: the dog from a scary situation who can’t seem to relax, whose “fight or flight” kicks in at the sight of a specific trigger. The dog may be reacting to past traumas, desperately trying to avoid a painful or frightening experience. Behavior specialists are noticing these behaviors in military dogs and are diagnosing it as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the same condition that challenges some humans on a daily basis.

The diagnosis is part of a slow movement in the scientific community to recognize the similarities between humans and other animals. Like us, it seems dogs and other animals are deeply disturbed by violence. Researchers are finding that dogs and humans react to PTSD in the same ways. Like us, some dogs react with aggression, some cower, others become hyper vigilant. Some sniffing dogs stop alerting their handlers to scents despite appearing to be working. These dogs are treated with time off and lots of playing and obedience training. Some also receive desensitization training. Still others will never return to work, their traumas being too great.

It is saddening that human war takes its toll on so many generous animals, but we can learn some lessons from these traumatized dogs. For one, we must realize that animals are emotional beings in the same way we are. Cruel actions hurt an animal just as they hurt a person. Every animal deserve kindness and care because, while dogs and others may live in the moment, like us they never completely forget. On the other side of the coin, ascribing “human” mental conditions to animals can legitimize our own troubles. Knowing that Spot is also able to suffer from PTSD can help a human patient realize that it is not “all in his or her head.” From what we know of animal psychology, a dog’s troubles are, in a way, pure. Spot cannot read about PTSD and, therefore, cannot add to or enhance his or her symptoms. Diagnosing animals with these disorders can only make them even more real. Lastly, we hope the effort our military puts into helping these dogs overcome their disorder can be translated to the many animals we rescue and rehabilitate every day. Any new technique that will help our dogs overcome their pasts and become happier and more adoptable will be a welcome advancement.

It’s not surprising to hear that dogs suffer from PTSD. As we continue to learn more about the minds of animals, we will doubtlessly learn that their thoughts are more complex and sensitive than we ever thought. And really, we shouldn’t be surprised because, when you think about it…we aren’t at all that different.

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Monkeys Will No Longer Suffer

Paws Up!

To the Aberdeen Proving Ground for phasing out a program of testing nerve agents on animals by the end of this year.

According to a news story, “The Army said it would replace animal testing [at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD] with trained actors, computer simulations and life-like mannequins.

Photo By gwendolen/Flickr

“‘The Army is committed to providing its healthcare providers with the best possible training while reducing reliance’ on animals, Army spokesman Michael Elliott said in a statement.”

Take Action: Thank the commanding general of Aberdeen Proving Ground for sparing the lives of the monkeys who have given their lives repeatedly to protect our soldiers. They deserve to be sent to sanctuaries, as appropriate, to live out their remaining lives away from the harsh experiences of the research laboratory.

Major General Nick Justice
Commanding General
Aberdeen Proving Ground
c/o 1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1400


The Washington Post
United Press International

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Vivisection May Wane in Military; Still Going Strong at UW School of Medicine

Vivisection is defined as a surgery used for experimental purposes on living organisms, typically animals having a central nervous system. NHES opposes vivisection. Living, breathing, sentient beings should not have to undergo the terror of the laboratory. So, we are pleased with the introduction of the BEST Practices Act (Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training Practices Act, HR 403), which would end the use of live animals in military medical training courses.

Please write a letter to the chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Representative Bob Filner, thanking him for introducing the bill. Then send a letter to your representative urging him or her to support this bill.

The Honorable Bob Filner
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
335 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Photo by Mika Hiltunen

Across the United States, many medical-related courses that once used live animals as test subjects are now being taught using only human-based simulators. For instance, 85 percent of pediatrics residency programs in the United States do not use animals. Medical simulators such as Gaumard’s Premie HAL and Laedral’s SimNewB, which was developed in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, accurately replicate the airway of a premature and average newborn, respectively. Both of these simulators are superior training tools for endotrachael intubation compared with the use of live animals.

However, the University of Washington School of Medicine continues to use ferrets in its pediatrics residency program.

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.”

Learning to intubate a ferret is hardly good practice for learning to intubate an infant. Please write the dean of the School of Medicine urging his school curtail the use of live animals, especially ferrets, in the school’s pediatrics residency program.

Dr. Paul G. Ramsey
University of Washington School of Medicine
1959 N.W. Pacific Street
Seattle, WA 98195

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