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Old 07-19-08, 01:08 AM   #1
artifice
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so, this article got me a little upset today.

so, this article got me a little upset today, and I posted it as an "item" on facebook, with merely the link and short note "Wow, this seems like a pretty outdated and inhumane practice..."

What are your thoughts? I'm not an animal rights activist, PETA member, vegetarian or Vegan. I simply can't imagine that there isn't a better way to train?!

I come home this evening to find one of my ex's army training mates posted this:
"I'm sorry but this is from an animal rights group that equates the holocaust with the slaughter of cattle and which hands over money to eco-terrorists... I can't take PETA or anyone that supports PETA seriously. If a few shot pigs (which are anesthetized) save the lives of even a few of my battle buddies in Iraq or Afghanistan because it provides the necessary trauma training that combat medics need... then so be it.

Something that saves lives is not outdated... You wouldn't think it was inhuman or outdated if the medic that saved your brother or your sister's life over there trained on those animals before he or she went over there. It may SEEM inhuman to you... but to the people who actually have to set foot in a combat zone this training saves HUMAN life."


We're all entitled to our opinion, and although I don't see his as very well thought out or intellectual, I respect it.

My response (and really all I could come up with):
"No contest that life-saving in traumatic situations is a necessary skill.

However, do you think this is the only means by which that training could be achieved?

If we can train our Army to TAKE lives under simulated circumstances, I assume we can train them to SAVE in the same way."
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Old 07-19-08, 01:18 AM   #2
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That's a pretty good response. From what I understand about battle wounds (Dr. Pete would know more about this) they are different than civilian injuries and can't be prepared for under civilian circumstances. I'm not saying that shooting a bunch of pigs is going to give that training either, but battle is a tricky thing, and I would hope the Army can choose the best method of training. (BTW, I'm still a vegetarian.)
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Old 07-19-08, 01:21 AM   #3
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I know you're a vegehead, and was particularly interested in your opinion

And, I've a few adult beverages myself this evening, so its good to affirm that what I said was a-ok.

Plus, don't doctors and nurses learn to save lives without killing things?
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Old 07-19-08, 01:28 AM   #4
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I know you're a vegehead, and was particularly interested in your opinion

And, I've a few adult beverages myself this evening, so its good to affirm that what I said was a-ok.

Plus, don't doctors and nurses learn to save lives without killing things?
I think docs learn from what has been passed down, and what has been passed down, in some cases, was originally learned from the death of things or people. I would have thought the military (through centuries of killing ****) would have learned what they need to, but maybe not, or maybe they just like killing pigs. That is a really strange thing to do, though. From what I've heard, a lot of the injuries that are being sustained are from IEDs, so maybe they should be blowing up the pigs rather than just shooting them...
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Old 07-19-08, 01:32 AM   #5
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I think docs learn from what has been passed down, and what has been passed down, in some cases, was originally learned from the death of things or people. I would have thought the military (through centuries of killing ****) would have learned what they need to, but maybe not, or maybe they just like killing pigs. That is a really strange thing to do, though. From what I've heard, a lot of the injuries that are being sustained are from IEDs, so maybe they should be blowing up the pigs rather than just shooting them...
eh... so do you suspect the pig-training might be a necessity in some way?
after all, the article equates a soldiers' reaction to the pig as potentially being like that of a beloved pet which might help them learn to deal with the situation.

Not that the magnitude of this compares, but I worked rock climbing for many years knowing only basic CPR and first aid. We never dropped pigs from 50 feet to "experience" what it would be like if we dropped a coworker, or something...

A part of me still thinks if killing can be simulated so scan saving.. otherwise our soldiers aren't adequately trained to kill.
?
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Old 07-19-08, 01:43 AM   #6
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My bet is that it's not necessary, but I'm not entirely sure. I would think that even new, crazy injuries that are being sustained in Iraq have been around long enough now that most things have been seen and could probably be simulated. i would really like to know more about this. I don't hold much stock in what PETA says, they seem to be a pretty reactionary group. By the same token, I don't believe most of what the military tells me, either. In a perfect world, I'd prefer that animals weren't killed like this, but if it really is the only way to save lives, than I'm ok with that.
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Old 07-19-08, 01:54 AM   #7
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Wow, props for giving such a thoughtful, logical response.

Related notion:

As I recall, a friend told me that pigs (as well as other animals) are considered property in the eyes of the law. As such, pig owners can do what they like with them--including things you can't do with, say, a dog. As long as that is the case, any change in the military's behavior is completely optional.
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Old 07-19-08, 01:58 AM   #8
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Hmm, thats interesting cal.

Another thought I had (a potential flaw in the "training regime?") was regarding the background of at least a few of the guys in my ex's platoon: hunters and farmers. I truly believe that life and death are different to people with a background in hunting farming. I wonder if they would view a wounded animal such as a pig as seriously as someone who hasn't experienced death first-hand like that.
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Old 07-19-08, 02:13 AM   #9
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it would be hypocritical of me to criticize something that might be responsible for saving someone's life, when i just ate some delicious bacon for breakfast

farmers tend to hold more pragmatical and less romantic views about life in general. yuppie suburbans who never really had to deal with the realities of life tend to wring their hands a bit more in response to this sort of thing

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Old 07-19-08, 02:40 AM   #10
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Spot on Weeks.
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Old 07-19-08, 02:54 AM   #11
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thanks for caring artifice. don't beat yourself up trying to rationalize the behavior of the military.
the navy exhibits equally bizarre behavior - blasting ocean mammals with sonar.
heartless bums.
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Old 07-19-08, 03:57 AM   #12
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it would be hypocritical of me to criticize something that might be responsible for saving someone's life, when i just ate some delicious bacon for breakfast
right

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farmers tend to hold more pragmatical and less romantic views about life in general. yuppie suburbans who never really had to deal with the realities of life tend to wring their hands a bit more in response to this sort of thing
I would qualify the hell out of this ^^^. One of the problems is that folks now have a romanticized view of the wise pragmatic farmer who confronts the realities of life that the rest of us are sheltered from. This is largely a myth. Factory farms are a far cry from the sort of family farm that my father grew up on. Even if I didn't care about the pigs at all, I would still be worried about the working conditions for labor and the possibility that this form of production increases disease (I caught a superbug 10 yrs ago from factory farmed eggs).




But the end result is the same. It's far more humane to shoot the pigs with assault rifles than it is to put them in a factory farm.
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Old 07-19-08, 04:02 AM   #13
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it would be hypocritical of me to criticize something that might be responsible for saving someone's life, when i just ate some delicious bacon for breakfast

farmers tend to hold more pragmatical and less romantic views about life in general. yuppie suburbans who never really had to deal with the realities of life tend to wring their hands a bit more in response to this sort of thing
Right there with ya'. Anyone who eats meat has to come to terms with how it came about. And I eat meat. I've shot animals and I've caught fish. I've seen animals in their dying moments. I've seen my dad butcher large animals that he killed. I really know where meat comes from. (I've lectured a few city folk who think it's crazy that I eat free-range buffalo and elk, while they have no issue with eating beef.)

Some lessons taught by my father:
1) don't kill unnecessarily
2) don't waste any part of an animal that was killed
3) be as humane as possible towards live animals, all the way up to death

I do have a problem if there was another way to teach the soldiers and/of if they wasted the meat. From the responses here and my own imagination, I figure that there were other ways to have achieved the same training result.

I've probably offended the veggies here, and there's no correcting that, since I am a carnivore. Just believe in showing some respect and humanity, even in the midst of our innate brutality.
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Old 07-19-08, 04:50 AM   #14
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right



I would qualify the hell out of this ^^^. One of the problems is that folks now have a romanticized view of the wise pragmatic farmer who confronts the realities of life that the rest of us are sheltered from. This is largely a myth. Factory farms are a far cry from the sort of family farm that my father grew up on. Even if I didn't care about the pigs at all, I would still be worried about the working conditions for labor and the possibility that this form of production increases disease (I caught a superbug 10 yrs ago from factory farmed eggs).



But the end result is the same. It's far more humane to shoot the pigs with assault rifles than it is to put them in a factory farm.
You need to qualify the pictures and describe what is happening there.
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Old 07-19-08, 05:42 AM   #15
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You need to qualify the pictures and describe what is happening there.
Brutal conditions, with animals stuffed together while breathing and living in their own feces. Never having a life to graze and wander. Often eating parts of their dead relatives mixed in the food. Killing that takes place mechanically and not always efficiently. Sometimes, they don't die right away, so adrenalin is rushing before the final blow/volt. (This affects the quality of the meat, too.)

Awful working conditions that depend on low-wage workers (oftentimes immigrants, legal or not) who have to butcher in rapid-succession, often nicking intestinal parts and leaving animals feces in the meat.

In my state, there was a referendum for more humane treatment of pigs that are farmed. There was a huge counter-argument, saying that it wasn't economically feasable and it would destroy the pig farmers in our state. As it turned out, the whole counter-argument was funded by one company that did big business in several states. The local pig farmers had no problem with doing it humanely. Of course, sausages from the big opposition (Farmer John's) are cheap. I won't buy from them anymore.

Indeed, the military pigs were probably better off than most farm animals. Still doesn't justify random killing, though.
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Old 07-19-08, 06:18 AM   #16
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Yes.. in America, cows and pigs and chickens are indeed treated in an undignified manner that really is nothing short of obscene and depraved. I purchase my meat from a halal meat market near my house... Kosher is also a good way to go (tho for me the closest kosher butcher shop is about twice as far out). The compassionate treatment of livestock is one of the few ways that the Islamic world is far more advanced than our western civilisation.
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Old 07-19-08, 07:08 AM   #17
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Shooting the pigs creates hands-on experience for the Medics - theres blood, etc - so that they don't panic on the battlefield and know how to handle the situation. Pigs also have similar anatomy to humans - so the wounds are similar. That way, the Medics have an idea where things are and what might have been damage.

Its no different really then what doctors used to do - cutting open cadavers to see whats inside.
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Old 07-19-08, 07:15 AM   #18
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Shooting the pigs creates hands-on experience for the Medics - theres blood, etc - so that they don't panic on the battlefield and know how to handle the situation. Pigs also have similar anatomy to humans - so the wounds are similar. That way, the Medics have an idea where things are and what might have been damage.

Its no different really then what doctors used to do - cutting open cadavers to see whats inside.


and then.. they'd bbq & roast them over and open pit? ..
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Old 07-19-08, 07:18 AM   #19
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Its no different really then what doctors used to do - cutting open cadavers to see whats inside.
I find it monumentally different: the cadavers had already died of natural causes. The pigs are alive, anesthetized-- so maybe they don't feel it, but also still awake.

Can't they get some pigs already put down for the bacon mill, pump them full of lead, and do a round of practice?
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Old 07-19-08, 07:27 AM   #20
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I find it monumentally different: the cadavers had already died of natural causes. The pigs are alive, anesthetized-- so maybe they don't feel it, but also still awake.

Can't they get some pigs already put down for the bacon mill, pump them full of lead, and do a round of practice?


sersiouly... If I were a pig and I had the choice, I'd really rather be one of the lucky few whose life is in the hands of medics and trained professionals - than be one of the many others that's sent away to the slaughter house. They uhm, see some pretty horrific stuff in there (can probly scar them for life).


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Old 07-19-08, 07:49 AM   #21
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First off, these aren't doctors, they sound like regular soldiers:
Quote:
The soldiers are learning emergency lifesaving skills needed on the battlefield when there are no medics, doctors or facility nearby, he said.
I agree with the training though. The article mentions some of them were distraught because they sometimes associate the animals with their own pets, however I think thats a benefit. If your buddy just got shot and you've never seen anything like it, you're probably going to panic and not be of much use. If you've done it before, even with a pig, you'll probably have a better chance of doing it right.

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Old 07-19-08, 07:59 AM   #22
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Hard as it is, I still understand and support the practice. The idea is to keep the pig alive if you can. It desensitizes a medic to extreme trauma and provides "hands on" experience that can translate to saving a human life by reducing the potential for freezing under pressure by the medic.

Anatomically, a pig is very close to the layout of a human being, and is actually the closest possible animal to a human other than a Great Ape (an endangered species), for this purpose. As little as I like it, I like a person dying even less.
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Old 07-19-08, 08:38 AM   #23
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I didn't read the article, but many animals suffer far worse deaths than being anesthetized and shot. What many animals go through on their way to the slaughterhouse is disgusting. Recently, slaughtering horses was banned in the United States. The thing is, for the most part, it isn't slaughtering itself that makes people angry--it was the conditions these horses were put through before the slaughter. I've seen so many pictures... However, now that the slaughtering is banned, horses are being starved to death because they have nowhere else to go, and the owners either can't or won't take care of them. So, which is the better death? I honestly don't know, but if conditions had improved, the slaughtering would probably still be lawful, and these horses wouldn't have to suffer needlessly.

I think I'm going to lose my breakfast after reading this thread.
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Old 07-19-08, 09:08 AM   #24
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so, this article got me a little upset today, and I posted it as an "item" on facebook, with merely the link and short note "Wow, this seems like a pretty outdated and inhumane practice..."

What are your thoughts? I'm not an animal rights activist, PETA member, vegetarian or Vegan. I simply can't imagine that there isn't a better way to train?!

I come home this evening to find one of my ex's army training mates posted this:
"I'm sorry but this is from an animal rights group that equates the holocaust with the slaughter of cattle and which hands over money to eco-terrorists... I can't take PETA or anyone that supports PETA seriously. If a few shot pigs (which are anesthetized) save the lives of even a few of my battle buddies in Iraq or Afghanistan because it provides the necessary trauma training that combat medics need... then so be it.

Something that saves lives is not outdated... You wouldn't think it was inhuman or outdated if the medic that saved your brother or your sister's life over there trained on those animals before he or she went over there. It may SEEM inhuman to you... but to the people who actually have to set foot in a combat zone this training saves HUMAN life."


We're all entitled to our opinion, and although I don't see his as very well thought out or intellectual, I respect it.

My response (and really all I could come up with):
"No contest that life-saving in traumatic situations is a necessary skill.

However, do you think this is the only means by which that training could be achieved?

If we can train our Army to TAKE lives under simulated circumstances, I assume we can train them to SAVE in the same way."
Well, being one of those trained on humans, simulators, and pigs, I think I can speak to this a little...

Surgery, especially when dealing with trauma, is a contact sport. No question. There's a lot to be learned skill-wise, and those things include keeping your cool, identifying the site of a life-threatening injury, getting control as quickly as you can, and repairing the injury. Some of these things just can't be learned on a simulator, and some can.

As simulations get more sophisticated, though, the need for animals becomes lower. In fact, if you want to look at the cutting edge of simulation, you'd be looking at a military facility:

http://simcen.usuhs.mil/home.HTML

This is the site of the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center--Take the flash tour. It's actually pretty cool, and will show you what your tax dollars are doing to minimize the use of animals. In fact, the simulated OR is the first lab in the country that's gotten the OK to teach the surgical skills portion of the ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) course, a nationwide trauma training program.

So really, things are headed in the direction of animals becoming obsolete.

In the mean time, though, I'll share a little story. My first (and only) emergency surgical airway during my training was on a pig. A nice, controlled setting, faculty around, pig is anesthetized, etc. etc. I got to practice, get a feel for the procedure, take my time, etc.

Then, one dark call night 2 years ago, a patient hit the door at our hospital having a severe seizure. The anesthesia team couldn't sedate or paralyze him enough to get an airway. During one of these seizures, the patient bucked while the anesthesiologist was trying to intubate and that caused some bleeding in his throat. Then the patient vomited. Can't see the airway anymore.

So right now the patient is purple, not breathing, heart rate is 30, blood pressure is 50/30, oxygen saturation is 0% (I'll never forget those vitals). The patient needs a surgical airway or will die in the next 30 seconds.

I got the airway in, ventilated the patient up, and after a few days in the ICU and a few more on the ward, the patient walked out of the hospital. I was REALLY glad I'd practiced on the pig.
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Old 07-19-08, 09:10 AM   #25
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sersiouly... If I were a pig and I had the choice, I'd really rather be one of the lucky few whose life is in the hands of medics and trained professionals - than be one of the many others that's sent away to the slaughter house. They uhm, see some pretty horrific stuff in there (can probly scar them for life).


I can tell you the animal handlers (at least the ones in charge of the pigs I've used in training and research) do an amazing job of keeping the pigs healthy and comfortable. There are almost more hoops to jump through in terms of demonstrating that you're not causing undue stress to the animal than there are for humans.

So FWIW, these animals aren't suffering.
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