Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard Celebrates Coast Guard Intention to End Live Tissue Training

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Washington, May 19, 2017 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) celebrated U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft’s indication that the Coast Guard would end the use of live tissue training, in which live animals are shot, stabbed, and ultimately euthanized as a means of medical instruction for Coast Guard personnel.  At Thursday's House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, the subcommittee's Ranking Democrat, questioned the commandant about the Coast Guard's review of alternatives to live tissue training.  In his response to the congresswoman, the commandant said of live tissue training, “I found that quite honestly abhorrent in terms of meeting our mission requirements.  So we will move to a simulation.”  He added, “It'll be the right thing to do to prepare our Coast Guard members who may be deployed to theaters where they may encounter traumatic injuries.”

“I am overjoyed and deeply gratified that Admiral Zukunft has indicated he will end the Coast Guard’s use of live tissue training,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.  “Shooting and stabbing live animals for the sake of medical training is a cruel and unnecessary practice.  State-of-the-art interactive human simulators will be a less costly and more effective way of teaching how to provide humans with emergency medical care.  I look forward to working with the Coast Guard as they transition to a simulator-based system of medical training.”

The congresswoman has been one of Congress’ leading advocates of ending live tissue training in the Coast Guard.  In April, she wrote an op-ed for The Hill in which she described the cruelty, costliness, and ineffectiveness of live tissue training, and announced the Coast Guard had told her that it had suspended the use of live tissue training as it conducted a six-month review of alternative methods of medical instruction, such as interactive human simulators.

“We salute Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, a leader with insight and heart, who understands that progress involves respect for animals as well as for those men and women of the Coast Guard whose lives depend on modern simulation-based training,” said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) President Ingrid Newkirk.

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