Lawmakers express concern to DOJ over training involving 'stabbing, burning and shooting' animals

Lawmakers express concern to DOJ over training involving 'stabbing, burning and shooting' animals
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Reps. Ted LieuTed W. LieuWyden urges FCC to secure 5G networks against cyber threats Democrat hits White House spokeswoman after Trump appointee changes testimony PETA asks DOJ to stop conducting training that harms animals MORE (D-Calif.) and Matt CartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightPETA asks DOJ to stop conducting training that harms animals Lawmakers express concern to DOJ over training involving 'stabbing, burning and shooting' animals Assault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress MORE (D-Pa.) have expressed concern to the Justice Department about medical training exercises that they said involve “stabbing, burning and shooting animals.”

The lawmakers, in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, said that the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) recently spent more than $120,000 on contracts for exercises involving so-called “live tissue training” (LTT). 

“LTT involves intentionally wounding live animals—usually stabbing, burning and shooting pigs and goats, and sometimes even dogs—and then having trainees crudely attempt to repair the damage,” the lawmakers wrote. 

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“The use of animals for this training is expensive, obsolete, unnecessary and opposed by most Americans,” they added. 

The letter, which was obtained by The Hill, asks for details regarding the use of LTT and LTT contracts. The letter’s authenticity was confirmed by spokespeople for both Lieu and Cartwright. 

“With recent advances in technology, live tissue training is quickly becoming obsolete,” Cartwright told The Hill in a statement. 

“The Department of Defense has already taken steps to replace this outdated method with other alternatives.  Americans deserve to know why the Department of Justice is spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars on this inhumane practice when more humane and more cost-effective solutions exist,” he added. 

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

An FBI spokesperson said the bureau always responds to the letter-writer before the media and therefore would not have time to comment before publication of this article. 

USMS spokesman Drew Wade acknowledged that the service had reviewed the letter but declined to comment. He said the department would instead provide feedback for the Justice Department for its response to the letter. 

LTT has also been used in the military, although in recent years there have been moves to phase it out.

In 2017, the Coast Guard ended its use of LTT, according to Military.com. Defense Department policy also says that simulations, rather than animals, should be used “to the maximum extent practicable” before live tissue training. 

Justin Goodman, the vice president for advocacy and public policy for the White Coat Waste Project, which seeks to end taxpayer-funded experiments on animals, told The Hill in a statement that LTT is “antiquated and expensive.”

 “Mutilating live animals for antiquated and expensive DOJ medical training drills hurts taxpayers, animals and the agency personnel being exposed to this inferior instruction,” Goodman said. “We applaud Reps. Lieu and Cartwright for their outstanding leadership to end this wasteful and inhumane program."

Lawmakers have recently taken other steps towards improving animal rights. The House this week passed a bill making animal cruelty a felony.