A Kit Up Inside Look at “Goat Lab”


This is a heavily controversial topic. The article you are about to read was written by a former Navy SEAL medic (it’s shared with his permission) who was trained by the Army’s course at Ft. Bragg, NC.  In the SEALs, we called it the 18 Delta course, but as Jack would tell you, it’s called something else. Enjoy what Wired Magazine’s Danger Room left out and let us know what you think.


When Killing Animals Saves Lives

In the darkness, the SOF medic can’t see because the flashing strobe has taken his night adapted eyesight away. He blindly feels slowly and methodically along the body for the exit wound behind the back. Then he feels it, the warm blood from the bullet wound touches his fingers and heightens his senses, a little gush with every heart beat pushes blood out of the gaping hole.

The gunfight in the background has been muted as far as he’s concerned, He’s only committed to saving the life of his teammate right now. He can feel the warm spit hit his face in the darkness as someone yells “Ten mikes to extract!” He slowly nods his head and feels for a pulse. He gets a steady thump (pause), thump (pause), thump; not quite as fast and weak as it was in the beginning; his friend has stabilized for now,

Another life saved, he thinks to himself.

The medic tries to push out the thoughts and images of so many friends lost last deployment to IEDs, He sharpens his mind’s eye and feels a sense of relief and accomplishment knowing he has saved another life.

Suddenly, the bright lights come on! He looks down to see his friend lying on the floor, only he’s looking at a gun shot goat. Welcome to Goat Lab.

The word is out that the US Military engages in ‘live tissue training’. For those of you out there that think we’re revealing some classified material here, just spend a little time around the internet and you’ll find that Fox has reported on it as well as Stars and Stripes, the LA Times, and many other news sources. If the super sleuths at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) can figure it out, it can’t be that hard.

“We have the best trained and most prepared combat medics in the world.”

Former students at 18 Delta Special Forces Combat Medical School might reference it as ‘Goat Lab’, but let’s not forget the brave goats, pigs and cats (they simulate infants) that have also sacrificed their lives so that others may live. The practice of using animals as training aids for combat medics and forward operators (among others) has spurred intense controversy and legislation that is pending on the further ability to use animals as ‘patients’.

I’m an animal lover, I always have been. When I was asked as a little kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always the same: a veterinarian. All animals, too, even cats (for all you cat haters out there). I always appreciated how cats, even after being separated from their mother at birth, still have a natural instinct to hunt and kill. I like animals more than most people, really, and would much rather hunt people than some rare sheep high in the mountains of a former Soviet republic. It’s more sporting. People can shoot back.

But when it comes to using animals to help train our Combat Medics, soldiers, and forward operators, I’m all for it. (For the record, I’m not bashing hunting… I love me some venison, elk, pheasant…..)

There is currently a Bill before Congress, H.R. 1417, the Best Practices Act, sponsored by Southern California’s very own Rep. Bob Filner, which, in summary is trying to amend Title 10, United States Code, to require the Secretary of Defense to use “only human-based methods for training members of the Armed Forces in the treatment of severe combat injuries”. (As I understand it, it is still sitting with the House Armed Services Committee.)

The Bill suggests that it is an “imperative” to replace live tissue training and calls the use of live tissue training “outdated and inferior” relative to simulators and moulage training, Excuse my French, but this is utter bullsh*t.

“until you’ve cut through living tissue on a creature whose life is depending on your timely and successful procedure to survive, you’ve never really done it

The reason the 18 Delta medics and now other SOF units have been using this method before and throughout the GWOT is because it works. We have the best trained and most prepared combat medics in the world, and they have and will continue to save lives because of the use of caprines and other animals in training.

The reason that this works is multifold, You can simulate performing a surgical crycothyrotomy on a mannequin a dozen times, but until you’ve cut through living tissue on a creature whose life is depending on your timely and successful procedure to survive, you’ve never really done it. Being able to tent the skin in the dark, slick with real blood, with smoke and explosions all around you, and get the tactile sensation of your scalpel through real flesh, the whoosh of air when you punch through the crycothyroid membrane and secure your endotracheal tube and Ambu Bag (if needed) isn’t something you can use a dummy to simulate, and moulage just doesn’t quite cut it either.

I realize that there are some very high tech (and very expensive) simulators on the market and being prepared to be brought online with the US Mil, but in my opinion, and until proven otherwise, will still be found wanting. Additionally, it tests the operator. 18 Delta is still part of the Q Course for aspiring Green Berets, and to put someone under pressure in a realistic combat training scenario with their ‘patient’ spurting blood from an arterial wound tests the mettle of that individual,

It’s all well and good to work through a moulage or simulator scenario and come away covered in fake blood, but the real thing changes your perspective, When you are attempting to stop an arterial bleed and every second you can feel and see the heart pumping out the lifeblood of a living creature, your heart rate rises, and despite the fact that you are working on an animal, you find yourself caring.

Kit Up wants to know what you think?


  • 4FingerofBourbon

    Better than using humans. Better than not being realistically trained at all…

  • Tom

    I’ve seen it done, the animal was treated humanly and with respect.

    • Nadnerbus

      Are the animals sedated before being shot or otherwise wounded? To me if there is at least basic effort to make sure the animal is not in agony the whole time, it would count for a lot.

      Though I guess if you are simulating a patient bleeding out, you can’t really dope them up with something that will suppress their heartbeat.

      • Nadnerbus

        Answered below, thanks.

  • Vic

    Rep. Filner and others like him are the example of emotional based thinkers. They can’t see through their gut reaction, and natural rejection, of using another living creature as a training tool. They can’t see the value these animals give us, the overall “big picture”. They see a bunch of big mean guys that get their rocks off bleeding out poor defenseless goats. What they fail to realize is that even a lot of those heartless ******** are the most empathetic people in the world, and that’s what makes the training so valuable. Rep. Filner and the countless others like him are the reason that we in law enforcement get boxing removed from our Academies, they are the ones that find terms like strong and weak distasteful, and it’s because of them that we “stop” threats instead of killing them. All in the name of emmotional based thinking

    I hope this bill is **** canned, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it passes. If it does go through, I hope that this 18 Delta Course keeps on doing what it’s doing even if it has to be a little more discreet.

  • bob

    Well it’s either that or you send every 18D Medic in training to top civilian L1 trauma centers where they can train under ER Docs, for these specific techniques.

    But the methods and practices in civilian hospitals are often different than in military and so that brings the question of would this be a sensible substitute?

    • FormerSFMedic

      bob, we did ride along with civilian Paramedics and work inside civilian ER trauma centers.

      • Larry

        But the point remains, is working in a well lit and ventilated trauma ER adequate training for stopping an arterial bleed while also trying to get someones lungs working again. I don’t think it is.

  • FormerSFMedic

    I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t believe in killing animals without reason and realistic training is a GREAT reason. I’ll put it this way. When I came back to the FOB in Afghanistan after a mission where I MEDEVAC’d a patient, I sat down to go over the situation in my head. I realized that when I was treating my patient (an ANA soldier) I was totally and utterly focused on my task, moving from step to step grabbing every instrument I needed and treating the patient without missing a beat. How’d I do that? This was my first patient EVER. I did it because my training was the most realistic and comprehensive program in the world. And yes, I treated a live animal gunshot wound in training.

    I believe that if we stop providing this kind of training for our SOF soldiers, we will be sending out an incomplete medic. This kind of training gives us loads of data to research. Understand, that there is still a lot we don’t understand about terminal ballistics on live organisms, even in 2012. There is no better place to research the subject than with live animal training. The biggest killer in the real world is STRESS. The only way to perform better under stress is to train under stress!

    • jimma

      As long as you aren’t starving and beating the goats then forcing them to fight to the death so you can betting on which one will end up the cannibal, I’m cool.

      Ends have to justify the means.

  • Unistat76

    To me it is very simple. If you are prepared to eat an animal to sustain your life, then using animals in life-saving training (or medical testing for that matter) is no more morally wrong.

    • ExNavRM

      I agree. In fact – I raise Goats.

      If I had to translate the many times I’ve fixed dog wounds, fencing tears, broken legs, run IV’s, stitched up a hog and gotten a critter “stable” to save a Human Life – the daily crap would be worth it.

      Snoopy really does say it best: “It is what it is.”

  • Zaner

    i totally agree with you man. just a quick question. I asked my brother (vet in training) about live tissue training and he said they would have probably sedated the animal prior to the training. is that the case? and this bill is definitely biased against the military, at every vet school in the country they practice surgeries on sedated stray animals that would have otherwise been put down and there’s no bill out there to prohibit that.

  • medic

    I support doing anything to give our SOF the best training possible and ensuring the highest survival rates of wounded american…. that being said, my feeling is that the goat lab is kind of a throw back. I am curious why they cant train on real people in the field in an EMS setting? I know that SEAL medics keep up their training working on trauma patients, which includes GSWs, accidents, stabbings, etc. plus the anatomy is human.. I have been a fire medic for 10 years, and have seen alot of people shot with evey kind of firearm imaginable. I didnt train on goats, and I never had a problem executing a procedure, high stress, family members screaming, interfering, etc. Quite honestly, I dont think a goat would have prepared me more for it then the training I received under veteran medics in real world calls.

    • Chris W

      You gained your experience over a career as a medic. Most of these guys are getting all the experience and training in a year or so and having lives put in there hands. It is one thing to be on an accident scene trying to save a life and a whole other skill set doing it by yourself with no other medically training person and unknown transport time.

      For those who are asking the animals are sedated to a point and at the end they are put down. They are treated as humanly as they can be, given the circumstances.

      • Medic

        For one, In relating how it felt being trained on dummies and realistic scenarios, then in the field- and how it related to my ability to perform said tasks under pressure the FIRST time I was expected to do so on my own. Also if you think what I do doesn’t involve treating people, sometimes multiple people simultaneously, with no one else on scene trained as a medic, and with an unknown transport time, your wrong. That is exactly what I do.

        • MauserMedic


          I went through the lab process during deployment training for Afghanistan in 2010-2011. I’ve worked in a hospital environment, NOT as an EMT, for nearly twenty years. Most of the medics in my National Guard unit never routinely worked in a medical environment once their initial training was completed. Every one of had to go through the lab twice, wearing full body armor and carrying weapons, in low light conditions, with chemical smoke pumped into the treatment tent. It is in no way comparable to any of my experiences in my civilian employment OR or Emergency Department experiences, where there is lighting, air conditioning, and light-weight blood-borne pathogen resistant clothing. We left the treatment tents knowing how to properly use tourniquets, pack wounds with clotting agents, insert tracheal tubes, and insert chest tubes because we did it. Two of our medics used that knowledge in a suicide bombing at FOB Gamberi in 2011. Google that FOB and suicide bombing, and you’ll find the published reports. They kept several people alive that would have died on scene without their intervention while waiting for the helicopters from Jalalabad. I used those skills a month later on an ANA soldier with multiple gunshot wounds.

          My wife didn’t like that program, be she understands that saving human lives was worth the sacrifice.

          As an aside, all the goats were completely sedated during the entire process by licensed vet techs supervised by a vet. We where told, and it was evident during the training, that no disrespect of the animals would be tolerated, and that UCMJ action would be an option of we did. No animals ever had their sedation lessened during procedures, and when euthanized at the end, the treating medics were responsible for handling the remains for proper and respectful disposal under observation of the instructors. I saw several of our teams delivering the remains at the end, and I saw not one soldier exhibit disrespect or joke about what they had done.

          It’s a good program I wish we didn’t need. I’m convinced it helped our medics when the time came, and that it’s worth what is done.

  • I love animals and grew up in a mil/medical family. I have never had problems with this and I heard about that course some 20 yrs ago. If you don’t have the training time to send medics to General Hospital ERs in really bad areas and times, this is the only way to get hands-on for life savers! Not only that but many of these finely trained soldiers retire into the medical community – so the life they save might be a politician’s….er….oh well. :)

  • Sol

    were the goats/pigs/cats sedated? I’m guessing so since they otherwise would be a rather unrealistic patient, but can you confirm? What happens after you “save” their lives…are they put down?

    • Doc Steel

      All the animals are sedated and they all put down after the training

  • majrod

    Never underestimate a politician’s propensity to sacrifice or use soldiers for the sake of votes.

  • MASH68W

    SOF medics aren’t the only ones that do this. My brigade had all our medics do this prior to last deployment and it was by far the best training a medic can receive. The moulage dummies we use are pretty useless when it comes to simulating live tissue and hemorrhage control.

  • Lance

    Agree with Formersfmedic.

    Only kill a animal for food or to save other lives other than that its cruel and not needed.

    • HalP

      I don’t want to argue about the ‘ethics of hunting’ but I would say your criteria is found wanting.

      I really like animals, I like them far better than most people I know, but if you consider feral hogs to be ‘animals’ than you can consider me cruel. Many animals cause a lot of damage to property and landowners in general, thereby making killing them the only viable option.

  • Gary

    They were doing this with Green Beret’s medics back in the Nam years. We did not do it in regular medic school then.

  • Elan

    Sounds perfectly fine to me. I love animals much like the author of the article. Animals are deserving of respect and equality, but if I could possibly save human lives by taking my chances saving an animal, I don’t think that animal’s pain would be in vain. Certain people are too quick to demonize the DOD, even if it means saving our brave men and women risking their lives every single day to fight for our way of life, which, if they haven’t noticed, is a lot better to animals than most of the rest of the world.

    • Brik

      Our way of life? LOL…what way of life? America has become a cesspool of corruption and tyranny from the top brass to the wallstreet execs to the politicians. I think you and many others sure as **** need to reevaluate why and what you are fighting for. Way of life?????? LOL American materialism? The US government has been crapping on the Constitution for the last 50+ years. The middle class is being destroyed. Our liberties and our country are being plundered and pillaged by the same clowns that send all you young men and women off to day. Is that the “way of life” you’re talking about? Because the ideals my grandfather fought and died for sure as **** don’t exist in America today.

      • 276 pedersen

        A way of life that allows you to post what you think on the internet.

        • Rapier975

          Well said, Pederson. Well said. The US is the worst country in the world…except for all the other countries.

      • Steve McMillan (acti

        I have to say you certainly seem to have a lot to add, although it’s completely off topic. Nice try aiming to stir an emotion or two… I want to congratulate you for your efforts. I think you need to be on a picket line or out crying about the 1% or some such crap. Might I remind you that this is an arena full of individuals that swore and oath to defend this country from all that threaten it from both foreign and domestic. Not a crowd likely to buy into all your media-centric ideals. Shouldn’t you be learning about some celebrities dry cleaning habits? Let the rest of us who might know a thing or two about this subject have an educated discussion…Your welcome to comment if you stay on point.

  • bbb

    Doctors in training practice on real people, but they don’t hurt them on purpose just for the practice.

    While I think it’s justifiable, it still sucks that they have to do it.

    Do they at least harvest the animals for meat?

    • Tom

      Can’t harvest the meat, the animal is so doped up the meat is tainted. Can’t even use it for dog food.

  • mpower6428

    hard core left-wing liberal, enviromentalist* touchy feely type here….

    i fully support this.

    that may have something to do with helping my father and grandfather ******** over 30 hogs on a farm in the nebraska back in the early 80’s.

  • lightfighter

    Well, after the 18 D’s get their training I hope that they’re allowed an awesome goat roast. It would be stupid to waste all that goat goodness.

    • Morgan

      Goat meat is actually pretty stringy. Not my favorite.

      • ExNavRM

        Depends on the goat. However the amount of sedative, if used, might make the meat inedible for human consumption according to the USDA. LGD’s or Military Working Dogs could eat it.

  • Logan

    I’m all for animal rights and am completely against animal cruelty. But this is a competely different story, our SOCMs, SFMSs, PJs, SOF Operators and Regular Warfighters need to to get the best and most realistic training available so when they’re kicking the door down while doing ops down range, a Combat Casualty isn’t new to them and can implement TCCC effectively. No way in **** are most of these simulators more effective than the use of real blood in an austere, chaotic, messy, SNAFU’ed, Combat Scenario.

  • Moondawg

    As a 91C I went through an early version of Goat Lab, in the late 60s. The emergency skills I learned there helped save soldiers lives later in Viet Nam. BTW, the goats were anesthetized. In fact we leaned to use anesthesia on the goats. Goat Lab is used for training medical providers other than spec op medics. It is good training and necessary training for saving lives in combat, by field medics, Bn Aid Station personel etc.

  • Froggy

    There is nothing like this training and its ridiculous to even consider eliminating it. Filner is a turd, but he’s running for San Diego Mayor this year instead of Congress.

  • I am an army trained PA who has done multiple live animal medical training thru the army. I’ve also done them thru civilan agencies for ACLS. This training saves lives in both military and civilain medical emergencies. The 68W medics also do live animal training. The “Goat Lab” justs gets more publicity. If PETA staff can use animal based insulin for their diabetes prior to the non horse/pig based serum then it should be fine to save our military wounded with this training. Remember it used to be called The Dog Lab” due to the use of dogs, goats are just lunch!

  • Steve McMillan (acti

    I am all for the goat lab training and I agree if you don’t have a real life in your hands it’s all still a drill. I’ve been in multiple situations (Mass Cass etc..) where training is your best and truest friend. It’s all books and theory until you are put to the test. I say put anyone trying to stop this stuff in the position of a medical professional and dare them to not feel the reality. A few animals don’t equal a human and I agree I love to hunt and my best friend is my cat.

  • Brik

    I highly doubt the military is even remotely responsible when it comes to making sure these animals are well sedated and as little harm and suffering is done to them. I mean come on….some of you are ****** naive. The US military and DOD have no problem blowing up Humvees full of pigs. Wake up! You all talk of the humane treatment of animals yet have no clue what goes on in your own ranks. Im all for traing with live animals but I’m not going to pretend the military actually cares about doing it “humanely”. LOL……..

    • Bill

      Careful, keep hanging out in sunlight you’ll turn to stone.

    • Neal

      Well, some of these guys that have done Goat Lab have already said they practice anesthesia on these animals… Plus it’s not like the soon-to-be-medics didn’t see the animals get wounded or the procedure leading up to it. They don’t just throw you in a room with a bleeding goat and a scalpel and say “Have at it!”

      Can you think of a better way to test body armor?

      Honestly, you’re throwing out a lot of accusations that underestimate the intelligence and morality of some of those present and doing SOF a great disservice.

    • Doc Steel

      The goats are check regulary for vital signs and are on a bvm. I don’t remember the extact number but I want to say they were checked every 15 mins

  • Chris Ehlers

    Has Filner been in the military? If not he does not understand the difference in the military and civilian medical culture. Not only are the surroundings in which the medical people work different, the decision making process is different. In the military situation it is ‘whatever it takes to save a life’ while in the civilian it is ‘what does protocol call for now’. Our field medics need to be able to think creatively to solve problems, not methodically.

  • Doc61

    It’s good training, and should be kept. It was the Graduation exercise in my day.

  • jake

    Very old and used in many military courses(live animals), this is the best way and it does save human lives.

  • retired medic

    I strongly agree with the use of animals.. you want someone at the top of their game when in combat situations. I’d hate to be shot, and have someone trained with simulation jelly to look for a piece a metal and a bleeder in my leg or abdomen. Congress needs to loose that bill, and concentrate on what’s important.

  • Quicksaber

    I am thinkng a lot of people are missing the point about the 18D training at state side hospitals as Paramedics the 1# issue they are not doctors so they will not be allowed to do alot of the stuff they would do in a combat zone or in a third world **** hole. Remember 18D may be the only ” Doctor” with in hundreds of miles. They are not a EMT or Paramedic who main jobs is to treat and stabilze the patient so they can be moved to a hospital to be treated by a Real Doctor. If a state side Paramedic did some of the stuff a 18D is trained for they would be out of there scope of duties and would be sued and fired and may be thrown in jail. A 18D is a mobile hospital where ever they are standing they may have to the medic, nurse and doctor all in one because they are the only trained person there. Don’t forget some SPEC OP teams are so far deployed they may not have AIR support or even a ground support and the 18D may have to treat a team member or civilians for weeks until the patient is able to walk on there own. Dont 18D also do VET work as part of there duties so this a win win too for the humans and the animals. just my 2 cents.

  • Weggie

    Been there seen results of the training back in the 60’s when I was in Group. There are thousands of SF’er and many other indig’es that were saved because of this training. The Lord made and but animals to serve and help man, we as his servants and have in 99.9 cases respected animal life. We need to keep the value of human life in our eyes, when we get it all turned around and feel animal life has as much value as human life, then we need to go back and read Genesis 1 vs 24-26….

  • Elan

    Brik, I don’t see what you’re trying to accomplish. You’re on a very specific blog on MILITARY.COM, a site for service members, veterans and recruits to talk about things and find news relating to their interests. I’m not saying you’re wrong in your way of thinking. but I certainly think it’s unhealthy, and if you really want to add your voice to the cacophony of nay-sayers buzzing around the web, you could find a better place to do so.

  • SalisburyMarine

    …This is not a case of kicking a lamb to death. The reason for this is both justified and pressing. We slaughter sheep and cattle by the millions to fill our bellies… Certainly a relative handful used to help save the lives and limbs of honorable fighting men is in order…
    …No one opposes sickening cruelty to animals more than I do… but this is not mindless sadism. Those who say that “…animals should have the same rights as men…” are really saying that men should have the same rights as animals… Lot of dictators would agree…

  • Luke

    Haha, a bill such as the mentioned above sponsored by some candy *** from california? Imagine that. This just shows how far is the disconnect between service members and civilians. I bet goat labs are a lot more humane than slaughter houses.

  • ParatrooperJJ

    I believe all insulin in the US is genetically engineered now.

  • Carl

    Back-in-the-Day, there was a Dog Lab for Army SF medic’s. When the trainees complained about seeing the dog’s suffer under this method, the Army switched to goats which did not have the “down-home, part of the family,” associations that dogs did and the training progressed with less stress on the human’s (SF medical students).


    I am constantly reminded about how ashamed should feel for remaining a resident of California. However, sincer there are no rainbow air fresheners hanging from my rear view nor are there any “yes on prop 8” stickers on my car, SO… I would like to add that even civvy doctors have live animals to practice on….the two legged kind that talk and walk and laugh. Thats why its called a “practice” and they are “practicing medicine”.
    Combat medics are not civvy doctors…we can all agree.
    Doctor Florsheim does not have a steady influx of combat triage so he has the luxury of being able to “practice”.
    Petty officer Smith does have a steady influx of combat triage accompanied by combat stress that needs immediate attention or lives and limbs will be lost so…..no time for practice, only perfection.
    That can only be attained under the stress induced from the necessity to save a living creature that is staring at you and depending on you more and more with every failing breath.
    What better than something one would find on a menu.

    Coming from a window lickers perspective…



  • Steve McMillan

    I have no idea what you are talking about.. I drive a truck, I do check luggage, like both dogs and cats and I drive a truck that gets about 18 mpg… Sooooo, not sure what your getting at.

    • Squirrel

      (Meet the Parents)

  • xcalbr

    Brik, understand that kitup is largely conservative, like most gun/equipment/military-themed blogs. Expect harsh criticism.

    I do not disagree with you one bit; America is remnescent of Rome during her last days. As demonstrated by the events of the past decade, America is willing to do anything and tell any lie, no matter how big, to ensure the empire is maintained.

    Make no mistake; I am for a flexible, well-trained, and well-equipped military. These features are certainly attainable. The problem is the corruption rife in the military-industrial complex, though many mistake criticism of corrupt instututions for liberalism (which is anything but the truth).

    • xcalbr

      To add on my previous post, I believe in applying more training methods like this. It certainly increases the effectiveness of troops on the ground. I always enjoy reading about innovations in tactics, training, and equipment by resourceful military personnel.

  • nraddin

    Personally I would love for there to be another way. I hate the idea of making animals suffer so that man can continue to fight over petty crap, but it’s not the soldiers fault we are fighting, and it’s our responsibility having sent them to the fight to give them the best chance we can. Right now, with what we have today, this is the best way. Who knows, a few years from now we might have VR that is good enough to mimic everything we need and be more controllable. But until we have that, or an end to warfare, I don’t see another way.

  • jennie

    A long time ago someone said to me,”All for the greater good.” The problem with that statement was that he wasn’t the one who suffered. He wasn’t the one who was considered so low on the totem pole that his life meant nothing more than training for someone else.

    Our soldiers need real life training. I don’t know the answer. Some emergency rooms have enough gun shot wounds to train an entire army.

    • bbb

      They’re not going to let Army medics treat gunshot victims in an ER, especially not for training…

  • AFDoc

    You need both live-animal and simulated people to get the best effect. There are things you can’t learn on a live-animal, such as a lot of the medicine, the repitition and intentionally screwing up to see what happens. Also, some anatomy is so different on the animals it’ll mislead you on a person. At the same time, there is nothing, NOTHING, out there that feels like doing it on a real, living thing. There’s the tactile sensation, which is very important, as well as the stress factor.

    USUHS, the military medical school, and many military medical residencies conduct live-animal practices and get multiple petitions every year to stop. Their answer: it works, if something else comes up that’s better, we’ll use it. The animals are under anesthesia and carefully monitored throughout the entire lab.

  • SOF Vet

    Good article and good discussion; however, I’m confused as to why we are even mentioning this in the light of day. How does the public benefit from putting this out there? Frankly, it is not going to change anyone’s opinion on the matter: You’re either hard core against or for the program. Similarly, I can’t imagine this article was written to help defeat the efforts of Representative Filner. So again, why was it necessary to validate the program at all? Agreed, it is not classified, but the less the public knows the less they will have to distort, misrepresent or misunderstand.

  • DocCoy

    It all comes down to money and votes. There is’nt enough money in Goats (if I recall they were buying the goats for $25.00 a piece) the big money is in the high speed mannequins and all of the support crap that goes with them, that and it’s a feel good point that liberal voters love.
    I remember back when Goat Lab was spoken of in whispers due to PETA complaining about it and this was back in the 80’s so it is nothing new.

  • Steve McMillan

    bwahahahahahhaha, I soooo didn’t catch that! Hilarious.. I reckon I need to change the name to Focker..

  • Ts1Spoc

    It’s an outrage. Goats are useful animals they are production animals. Capable of giving milk, cheese and keeping noxious weeds at bay. I say save the goats!!!! Let’s use politicians. The don’t seem to have any socially redeeming value what so ever!!!!!

  • Kurt

    I say keep it up, pass the kababs, and a cold one. Let’s substitute moron politicians and touchy feely types for the goats, rabbits, etc. for a year long study of this really important issue. See I’m a sensitive guy. We have the best trained in the shortest time possible. Nothing beats the real thing. If I’m in trouble I’ll take the medic that’s got your goat. Former USAF Medic

  • Alicia

    I have gone through this amazing and career changing experience. The animals are medicated and can’t feel anything, nor do they really move during this training. The simulator dummies are **** in comparison to live tissue training. The dummies stop bleeding at the touch of a button. You don’t know what it takes to stop bleeding until you do one of these training labs. I would much rather “test” (for lack of better word) my medic skills on a goat (and I am a HUGE animal lover. I almost cried until I knew what all went into them to make them comfortable and not feel anything) and make a mistake than to work on my buddy as my first patient. Your first living, breathing, bleeding patient will freak you out a little if all you have worked on is dummies. I would rather a goat die from a mistake and me learn from it as a medic than my buddy, or fellow soldier die from a mistake that could have been avoided by taking a live tissue training.

  • Kat

    ********. No excuse is good enough to inflict pain upon an innocent creature. If people stupidly join the army knowing they may face combat that’s their problem if they get maimed and they should expect it, worst case scenario, only a ******** would practice on a life that DIDN’T VOLUNTEER!!!

    • oscar

      wanna volunteer?

  • oscar

    why don’t we put Brik as a stand-in for the goats?

  • oscar

    where’s the like button?

  • Current

    Let me add somehing, this post is somewhat old, but I worked with paramedics during my training and have the utmost respect for you guys; you are right by saying that some of you guys handle mass casualties situations often; but the huge difference between you and me my friend is: SOF medics are trained to treat wounded personnel while taking enemy fire (by enemy fire I mean anything from pistol fire to IED AKA road side bombs, RPG’s and mortars; we are train to sustain our casualties for long periods of time (we do not have an ambulance that will show up within 30 min) and sometimes medevac will not come if weather or situation does not permit it, it might take days to evac someone; perhaps you should not compare yourself as I will not with you, since we work in two entirely different realms; when you can triage and treat 5 casualties out of one medbag and keeping everyone alive then my friend I will come and buy you a case of beer until then I would just not voice my opinion; I love animals and truth be told the so called Goat Lab is necessary to prepare our finess warriors if this proposition goes through then all this Rep will be doing is blindfolding our best warriors throwing them in the water and order them to swim to victory (not to mention that if someone dies then it will not be his fault but all fingers will be pointed to the operator)

  • Current

    From Kat “No excuse is good enough to inflict pain upon an innocent creature. If people stupidly join the army knowing they may face combat that’s their problem if they get maimed and they should expect it”
    WOW!!!! You must be one of those so called great americans that would called upon your right to bear arms and protect your family, right? Kat must I remind you that while a lot of Americans don’t agree with the war in Afghanistan or Iraq, think about it, we all get MAIMED AND FACE COMBAT for you, have you ever thought that if our great troops were not there, where would all this terrorist be??? do you even have an idea??? probably back here blowing up more buildings, think about it; this is a military forum and it is really unamerican for you to talk tht way about us, I am sure if a terrorist was knocking on your door the first thing you’d say is that we are not doing our jobs, but what have you done besides just sitting in front of your computer and insult our heroes, in the end you just another mental weakling who finds shelter under the true heroes that will gladly take a bulet for another American, how about you, would you do the same?? Let me guess, it wouldn’t be your problem right? You are a great American;


  • Yojimbo

    I went through “Dog Lab.” early sixties and within months was treating civilians in Nam…there was no Med. Evac. for them…If I didn’t care for them they did without… the training helped save lives and limit suffering…A war can not be fought NICE.

  • HKD

    Uh, I hear you, but you just advocated illegal s***. Not cool. This kind of need is noteworthy, but it ain’t a blank cheque.

  • janitor

    forward deployed SOF help train the indigenous populations of “said areas” and sometimes PROVIDE MEDICAL CARE to these people that are opressed worse than you are here in the US. last time i checked our troops dont hurt or kill children on purpose. there are places where they do. these guys often help provide medical care for them, not just troops. im sure those kids didnt volunteer to get shot or blown up. so a goat is less than 80lbs right? roughly the size of a child…..the training seems spot on to me. plastic does not equal flesh. these animals dont die in vain. they dont end up on an all you can eat buffet for your fat ***. metric tons of slaughtered animals never make it into the wasteful belly of america, they end up in the garbage. -with love, the navy hospial corps.

  • denny
  • Mark Blaha

    Being in the Marines, we had a corpsman with us in our unit (Doc Hanson), and he would tell us about his experience at the school, Let me tell you this school saves lives. I am an animal lover as well ( Not partial to cats) but to end this school is a mistake- Great Article

  • Brad

    I’d rather have a medic work on me whose demonstrated confidence and compassion. Someone who would stand up and refuse to kill an animal. Not the follower who did what everyone else did even though it felt wrong to him, or the guy that never questioned it because it didn’t feel wrong to him. I’d trust a guy with my life that would tell cadre he wasn’t going to do any “live tissue training” because he knows what the hell he’s doing and if they doubt his abilities and dedication at that point in the game then it’s on them to improve their evaluation process. Don’t make a guy do something inhumane to “prove” himself.

    Wouldn’t extending the time SF medics spend working at metropolitan trauma centers provide just as good, if not better, experience? You’d be saving real humans and getting plenty of “live tissue training”. I’d much rather my tax money go to that program than one that results in dead animals.

    I read they go through as many as 300 goats a month at the “goat lab”. If that’s true, the people in charge there are the ones that need to be evaluated. These are living creatures that have the same will to survive as you and me. They don’t want to die exactly the same as we don’t want to die. It’s easy to push this aside because you’ve been using live tissue training for so long and you’ve been told by cadre who you respect that it’s the only/best way. The understanding that all life is precious is something we are born with. Once you remember and except this, it’s on you to find a more humane way to do your evaluations. You guys are the experts. You are the ones that need to find another way. If you don’t fix it you’re opening the door for an outsider to dictate how you’ll evaluate your medics. It’s simply wrong. Please fix it!

  • MSgt Ret

    PETA= People Eating Tasty Animals!!!! Retired MSgt Medic.