In our tech savvy world is experimentation on animals really necessary?

Canada Uses Pigs In Military Training.

Did you know that organizations worldwide are still experimenting on animals when there are several other viable alternatives at their fingertips?  Canada is one of 6 countries cited in the Journal of Military Medicine that still uses animals in their medical training.  Think about how many times in the course of your day you turn to either your laptop, ipad or phone to communicate with friends and family or to do schoolwork.  With technology available today, there is no valid reason for animals to sacrifice their lives.

One of the major justifications given for this treatment of animals is that it is necessary to save human lives -- the us vs. them mentality: they must suffer so we don’t. However, this is not true, according to  Several studies performed by animal rights organizations as well as the Journal of American Medical Association and the British Medical Journal show that lifelike human simulators such as Simulab’s TraumaMan, as well as training in hospital emergency rooms and staged reenactments of the battlefield are all more effective ways to train medical professionals than inflicting deliberate harm on animals whose makeup is not much like our own (The Humane Society of the United States) (

We must put pressure on the governments and companies that still use animals in their research and insist they look to technology for more humane methods.  In Canada, the Department of Natural Defence exposes live pigs to chemical agents and deliberately injures them to help train military personnel on how to treat wounds on the battlefield.

In an article by Randy Boswell at Postmedia News , Marie-Helene Brisson from Canada’s Department of National Defence confirmed that the “the DND currently does use live tissue training to provide advanced military training for specific operational requirements” but that “the department is actively investigating alternate approaches to training healthcare professionals.” She emphasized that saving lives on the battlefield was their top priority.

Although this is an encouraging statement, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal’s Justin Goodman who is in talks with the DND said that we still need to keep petitioning Canada’s Minister of National Defense, Peter MacKay, about this issue because it is far from resolved. 

Initially PETA wrote the Minister of National Defense in May 2012 and since then there has been correspondence and phone calls back and forth, but no real progress. As of this posting, they are still waiting for a formal reply from Canada’s Department of National Defence.

“There is no sense of whether the reply will be positive or negative,” Goodman said.

Canada should not be our only focus though.  The other five NATO countries listed in the Journal of Military Medicine included the U.S., Norway, Denmark, Poland and Britain.

In America, although there has been advancements in animal rights like the successful 2011 campaign to stop the use of vervet monkeys in chemical warfare training, there are still many acts of animal cruelty that are occurring under the guise of life-saving medical research. U.S military still uses smaller creatures like rabbits and mice, not protected under the Animal Welfare Act, to practice surgical procedures, and of course there is still the ongoing concern of animal testing on consumer products like cosmetics and other household items (PETA).

Canada’s DND and others guilty of animal cruelty can no longer excuse themselves by saying it is necessary to save human lives. YOU can help stop these inhumane practices in several ways:

1)YOU can join your voice with others by signing a petition asking Canada to re-evaluate their chemical warfare training. Both PETA and already have one.

2) Be more aware of the products you use and which ones test on animals or have animal byproduct in their ingredients. You can find an up-to-date listing at

3) In the United States, politely write to your local Congressman and ask him or her to support the Battlefield Excellence through superior Training Act that is still before Congress.  Ask your parents and friends to do the same. The more voices they hear, the stronger our message will be.

YOUR voice does matter.  Together we can show the world that we need to respect and protect our fellow creatures, not use them for our own purposes.

Other Sources:

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis/