Coast Guard, PETA continue to spar over "goat camp"


No one disputes that "goat camp" is ugly. Ugly for the military trainees learning battlefield first aid. For the goats that serve as wounded patients. For the public who watched an undercover video released last spring of a Coast Guard session held in Pungo.

But war is ugly, too, and one year after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals leaked the video and filed a flurry of complaints, a Coast Guard investigation into the March 2012 "live tissue training" session has concluded there was no misconduct by its personnel, but "the controversial nature of LTT" - as the military calls it - demands a search for alternatives.

The debate over LTT, currently a requirement for many war-zone deployments, comes to roost in Hampton Roads like nowhere else.

In this stronghold of the military, combat trauma care has a face - a loved one who comes home alive after a roadside bomb or firefight.

In this home base of PETA, activists focus on the other side of the training - the 10,000 goats and pigs they say are killed each year to teach techniques.

The two sides have been fighting about LTT since the early 1980s, but PETA says the Pungo video - nearly four minutes of footage showing anesthetized goats being wounded with pruning shears and scalpels - has launched "a national conversation" destined to end an exercise the military has used since the Vietnam War.

PETA's argument goes beyond the moral issue, said Justin Goodman, the group's director of laboratory investigations: "The fact is, this is not only bad for the animals, but studies show that teaching trauma personnel to treat injuries is more effective when it's conducted on a simulator."

Not everyone is so certain, especially the military. High-tech practice dummies like SimMan might breathe, bleed and even scream, but they're hard-pressed to stir emotions like a real life held in the hand. They're also expensive, as much $75,000 apiece.

In an email, Coast Guard public affairs officer Lisa Novak said that so far, neither the service nor the Department of Defense "has found a viable synthetic option to the live-tissue training method."

The Coast Guard said it has 250 personnel stationed in high-risk regions where a Combat Lifesaver course is a prerequisite of deployment. The session secretly filmed at an old airfield in Pungo was typical - four days of classroom followed by one day of LTT. Instructors and goats were provided by Tier 1 Group, a federal contractor based in Arkansas. Students included 32 guardsmen, most heading for Iraq.

Divided into teams, students stood around tables set up under canopies in a tree-ringed field. Each table held an adult male goat, unconscious from anesthesia administered by an instructor. While students turned their backs, instructors inflicted injuries on the goats. Students were expected to then assess and tend the wounds swiftly with field first-aid supplies.

As the day wore on, the injuries escalated in severity and number, with instructors turning to shotguns, pistols and axes to mimic man-down trauma. In the afternoon, the goats were laid out along a gravel path to simulate a combat scenario. Teams had one minute to dash into the "hot zone," return enemy fire, secure the area, address the most life-threatening wounds and evacuate their "patients."

They spent the next hour struggling to keep the animals alive using the techniques learned in class. When the time was up, the goats were euthanized.

In the video filmed by a whistle-blower and released by PETA, at least one sedated goat appears to be twitching, and another emits a long, low groan. After viewing the footage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Tier 1 for improperly monitoring the anesthesia.

PETA also objected to what it called the "cavalier attitude" of the LTT participants. Whistling and joking can be heard on the video, but the Coast Guard saw "nothing to suggest this behavior was prevalent" or was "anything other than reaction to a high-stress situation."

It's undeniable the video is tough to watch, even for mainstream meat-eaters who have no qualms about the billions of animals slaughtered for food every year. One reason: the disconnect between the modern table and the factory farm.

"We not only don't think about that, we just aren't even intellectually aware of the process," said D.E. Wittkower, an assistant professor at Old Dominion University who has taught classes on the ethics of animal use.

Video leaked from slaughterhouses elicits similar shudders as the LTT film. Reality, once seen, is "often shocking and disturbing," Wittkower said.

Ironically, that's one fact in LTT's favor. Combat wounds can be horrific, and the military contends LTT helps desensitize rookie rescuers, improving the odds of quick, accurate action.

"The very reason it's distressing," Wittkower said, "is the very reason it works."

The conversation is far from over. In February, Congress ordered the military to justify its use of LTT and assess whether a switch to simulators would cost human lives. In the meantime, the Department of Defense continues to use Tier 1 for LTT, and the Army has put out a contract bid for its own goats - up to $5 million worth - enough to carry out its training plans through 2018.

Joanne Kimberlin, 757-446-2338, joanne.kimberlin@pilotonline.com

Posted to: Health Military PETA

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We should be using goats to

We should be using goats to our mow grass.

All those lawnmowers combined, think about it, it's millions upon millions employed twice a month taxing our environment to hell and back daily. Big oil loves it, hell we'll even fire up a gas powered leaf blower because we think it's more efficient than a broom and a shovel. We're so gullible, all you did was succeed in blowing dirt all over your neighbor's every possession and create a profound noise disturbance. Stop reinventing the wheel please, the jettyhop.

Back to those backyard goats, a little barbecue on a special occasion is not above reproach, maybe even a little cheese for you cheese lovers, just ask the Greeks.

If you mower is electric

then it means it is partly or wholly coal fired.

Unless you recharge the battery with a solar charger.

It would not have to be a fast charger since you probably don't mow more than once or twice a week.


I have a solar charger, but my mowing is once or twice a month, not once or twice a week! How to tell if your lawn needs to be mowed: 91) Your neighbors are glaring at you. (2) You can't see the tops of your sneaks (high top) as you walk through your yard.

Thats a brilliant answer

Now for a news flash. Somebody is burning something somewhere to make your lawnmower magically run on electricity. I get a big kick out of some of these responses. And these people vote too. Scary.


on the other hand, are bio-fueled and emit fertilizer.

Comparetively Negligible

What it takes to run an electric lawnmower is negligible compared to what a gas-powered mower puts out.

Yes, people should get educated

Much of the area uses nuclear power. Eitherway, any power plant (fossil fuel burning or not) is significantly more efficient than your lawn mower or car. Therefore electric lawncare tools or electric/hyrid cars will burn significantly less fossil fules on average.

just fyi,

goats don't eat grass so much, I think you're thinking sheep as lawn mower.

Not here!

My mower is electric and I do not rake leaves.

Substitute dogs for goats..

and it would be long before this cruel and inhumane practice would come to an end.

Substitute dogs for goats...

and it would not be long before this cruel and inhumane practice would end.

If you wouldn't do it to a dog, why would it be acceptable to do it to a goat?


The dogs are pets, the goats are being raised as FOOD, they will be eaten anyway, do not care how my food is killed as long as it tastes GOOD!!!

They don't eat these goats.

They just torture them for a while. The trauma surgeons who worked on the Boston bombing victims, I wonder how many times they trained on live goats? You don't think that the 150 American workers who are killed everyday on the job aren't suffering horrible trauma? Legs torn wide open from shattering grinder blades? Arms ripped off by meat processing equipment? The doctors and first responders aren't training by mutilating goats. The everyday citizens who rushed into help the bombing victims didn't need to mutilate goats to have the mental presence of mind and skill to do what they needed to do.


This is pure conjecture, and could easily be wrong, but I suspect you'd find many of the medical procedures perfected, or even pioneered, for trauma care came out of military experience.

To me at least, it boils down to - if there's any chance that this practice, cruel as it is, helps save more lives than simulators, isn't it worth it?

Not torture

By definition, torture involves inflicting pain. When done with proper anesthesia, the goats don't feel pain. Comparing emergency care in a hospital w/emergency care on a battlefield is foolish - there are far more differences than similarities. Hospital care is not provided under fire or in an environment that can turn hostile in an instant. If you're in a situation where you have multiple major casualties, either from a firefight or an IED, where seconds literally mean the difference between life and death, where you know YOU could have been one of the casualties, the "mental presence of mind" is significantly different than that of a typical civilian 1st responder. If this training helps save one life, it needs to continue.

Even Better

Substitute volunteer Patriots. What could be a more selfless act of patriotism by those who really want to support our troops?

No matter what job you do in

No matter what job you do in life, no matter how much training, sooner or later you hafta do it for real...no simulator will be like the real thing. These are goats we're talking about here. Sorry, but they're way lower pon the food chain and if their sacrifice helps save the life of a military service-member, well.....sorry, Mr goat. Why doesn't P.E.T.A. ask the guardsman being trained how effective this training is, or ask a person who's life has been saved due to a person who had this training working on them...or ask the once-victims spouse or kids or parents. I'm sure they'd offer some good feedback.
And, anything at all that irritates P.E.T.A., that's a winner in my book.

Maybe some PETA members

Maybe some PETA members should step up and take the place of the goats so the people that will be the first responders will know what live tissue feels like in their hands. I really do not think a simulator will give them the feel of live tissue being held in their hands or the warmth of a body. PETA does not seem have any problem lying about finding animals homes and no sooner than they are out the door with the animals killing them.

Why not humans then??

I think PETA would be perfectly fine with the Guard using live humans for these exercises, but not their precious animals. That is the way these warped people think. Do everything possible to protect animals, regardless of the effects on humans. Meanwhile they euthanize thousands of animals every year. Hypocrites on the largest scale.

Well you have a point there. When it was discovered that

dog fur was being used in coats coming from China, congress whipped up a law banning such imports with unheard of alacrity.

But every single bill which comes up that outlaws imported products produced in sweatshops, with child labor, slave labor, or prison labor, and/or at places which have substandard human rights and safety regulations it gets killed in committee by house Republicans.

simple reason

There is a lot more profit in cheap labor than dog fur.

Money talks and our politicians listen.

Just Wondering

Why don't they pick up all the dogs from shelters before they are put down and use them. Save the goats!

The last time

I was at PETA, I was sitting near the place eating my lunch(a cheeseburger) and one of them came up and started complaining to me about it, I pointed at his LEATHER shoes and ask "Why is it okay to kill a cow to make your shoes, but not my lunch?" He just looked at me and started walking away, I hollered "HYPOCRITE!!! (no response) People Eating Tasty Animals


A lot of them are "followers" who can't make decisions for themselves. They think it's ok to slaughter dogs and cats by the thousands but want to save a few goats used in medical training. There is no logic to PETA's practices.

I don't how you look at this, it's pretty cold hearted

Maybe it's necessary to learn these techniques so we are ready to fight wars we don't even belong in? The injuries to the young men and women in this country for the sake of making billions of dollars$$$$ off the war industry. I understand a need for learning the trade, trying to justify it for the sake of a war we are using to keep employment numbers from becoming worse, to make the money off the backs of our young men & women that die, many of whom have no clue what life is even about yet because they're too naive about life itself. Shame on anyone that is duped to believe otherwise, you folks that do are no different than these goats being marched into battle for war profit & political gain. The big lie, government!

PETA throwing stones while living in glass house.

PETA protest this while they murder puppies and kittens. The "No Kill Advocacy Center" statistics show that PETA has killed more than 29,426 animals in the last 11 years. PETA euthanized 1,647 cats and dogs last year and only placed 19 in new homes according to data submitted to the Virginia Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services. According to the statistics 1,110 cats and 733 dogs were handed in to the charity in 2012. Only 22 cats and 108 dogs were transferred to another shelter, two cats and three dogs were reclaimed by their owner while 1,045 cats and 602 dogs (89%)were euthanized. I guess peta wants to kill the animals and throw the corpse in dumpsters themselves vice other organization using them for important training.


Perhaps the Commonwealth Attorney could look into charges against PETA and everyone involved. Just looking at those figures makes PETA look like a "front" for the torture and murder of animals.

If PETA is euthanizing dogs and cats by shotgun blasts

and slashing their bellies open and letting them bleed out, you may have a valid point.

But I don't think that's the case.

Closer to home than you realize

PETA travels less than a mile from their HQ on Front Street. They attempted to capture and kill the cats that reside within Fort Norfolk. HOwver, there are folks who contribute money to have the animals captured and neutered.

Which is humane?


Please concentrate your efforts on animal abuse within the food industry. That last article about the cow being tortured before slaughter was horrible. The fact that it was raised for consumption doesn't mean it's ok to torture it first. That said, butt out of this issue with the Coast Guard. It isn't pretty, but the animals are anesthetized it saves (human) lives. Your efforts are sometimes ridiculous and without merit. The sea kittens website was laughable. So concentrate on something you can actually do something about. M'kay? Thanks.

They would get far better

They would get far better training at Detroit General Hospital working weekends in the ER.

It's been done in the past


I don't know if they still have similar programs going on. However, even if they do, it would be impractical (impossible, really) to get the volume and variety of training needed for such large numbers of personnel in a reasonable amount of time. 32 students, working on different types of (progressively worse) trauma, culminating in a mass casualty drill in a simulated "under fire" environment - all in a single day of hands-on training. And that's just one Coast Guard class - how many more run throughout the year to support requirements for the other services?

There's no way this could be replicated in any civilian hospital.

Training is to educate the

Training is to educate the person on dealing with TRAMA in the field. The injury is a result of a violent act. It is horrible that live animals have to be used, but the simulator just isn't the same and trust me... If you’re the person that going to need the trama treatment, please let it be someone who is qualified and been through this training...

Nothing beats LIVE training. Totally different than simulator. Smell, feel, touch, etc. You don't want the pilot of plan to fly you after 1000 hours in simulator.... Go to Walter Reed and ask those young folks about the training of folks who saved them...
I also call Bull Chips on "the studies show. more effective ..on a simulator." FALSE FALSE FALSE...Can't Cite three jREAL STUDIES..

swine and mutton

Maybe try donating the meat to the food bank or a soup kitchen. Or cook it up and eat it yourself after the training is over. Fresh goat and pig over an open flame. Some of the finest meat on earth. Invite PETA to the BarBQ and make it a diversity training seminar. Come on people, think out of the box, think out of the bun, think out of the tofu.

What would jesus do?

"Verily, I say to you, I Am come into the world in order to put an end to all blood offerings and to the eating of the flesh of animals and birds that are slain by men." (Chap. 75:7-9)

“I came to end the animal sacrifices, and if you do not stop making sacrifices, the wrath of God will not leave you alone.”
Jesus, cited from Epiphanius, Panarion 3:16

He doesn't need the training

He does not need any training... He heals with a touch.... Other mortals do not.

Where are these from?

I won't claim to be a biblical scholar, but I don't recall either of these statements. However, it appears that (other than the "eating of the flesh" part) these are talking about blood offerings and sacrifices to, or for the glory of, God. That's not what's happening in this situation.

Full dislosure: Even if these were direct quotes and were in each of the "main" books of the bible, that should have no bearing on whether or not this practice should continue. The only factor should be the efficacy of the training in reducing mortality rates in a combat environment.


These "quotes" are pure unadulterated puppy poop! According to the gospels, when Jesus miraculously appeared in the locked upper room to some of His disciples, after His ressurection, He asked for something to eat, and they gave Him a fish.

Win Win

Why not have the medics assigned to inter-city hospitals and treat gunshot wounds and other trauma related wounds. They could and should be supervised by regular doctors. It’s a win-win. Overloaded ER’s get help; new students learn hands on by watching and participation. Someone tell me why this wouldn’t work.

Goat Abuse

Halal goats and all Halal animals have their throat slit to "bleed out". NO anesthetic or stunning is permitted. "Ritual" slaughter circumvents many laws on cruelty.
PETA will not make a big deal of that due to PC and FEAR.

Ritual slaughter ...

Halal goats and sheep are most frequently small farm raised, free range and used to people being around and touching them. Often they lay down quite calmly in a field they know, their eyes are covered, and they are prayed over before having their jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe cut with an incredibly sharp knife. Death from exsanguinate is very fast and relatively painless compared to being transported by truck or train for days, starved for several days to empty your system, hung by your back legs and going down an assembly line ‘alive’ until some big guy shoots a bolt into your brain.
I don’t have a problem with eating meat, but animals are living creatures and deserve compassionate treatment when dying to feed human beings.

Ritual slaughter ...

Halal goats and sheep are most frequently small farm raised, free range and used to people being around and touching them. Often they lay down quite calmly in a field they know, their eyes are covered, and they are prayed over before having their jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe cut with an incredibly sharp knife. Death from exsanguinate is very fast and relatively painless compared to being transported by truck or train for days, starved for several days to empty your system, hung by your back legs and going down an assembly line ‘alive’ until some big guy shoots a bolt into your brain.
I don’t have a problem with eating meat, but animals are living creatures and deserve compassionate treatment when dying to feed human beings.

Really, cause you know

so many combat wounds are pruning shear and shotgun related.
Please, I would like to hear from anyone that has participated in this training that has gone on to treat real combat related injuries. Did this training help you,or did it just help to desensitize you to pain and suffering?
Has anyone addressed the psychological impact that this type of training
has on the men that do the mutilation/trauma to these helpless creatures?
It is not typical of persons that are in the 'helping-people’ fields to cause harm so I am curious about that.
Real time trauma training is possible in the local hospital emergency rooms on a daily basis and surely a partnering of services could be worked out if they really wanted to stop this madness.

You're actually asking about

You're actually asking about the psychological impact of trauma to goats...on soldiers who are headed to a war zone and have a good possibility of seeing, and having to treat/save humans with major trauma?

Training in the local hospital? I'd love to hear what "real life" hospital training will afford almost 3 dozen individuals multiple opportunities to treat multiple severe trauma situations, of varying degrees, particularly in a mass casualty environment, all while adhering to a specific training schedule so they can deploy on time.

I believe that some military doctors have trained in urban areas(e.g., Chicago) to get some true experience, but that can't be done in the numbers needed for students taking the Combat Lifesaver course.

I thought there would be

I thought there would be more comments by lunch time. Guess majority of folks read PETA and roll thier eyess.

PETA is just over board, but that is what gets attention.

WOnder if Coast Guard is in trouble for security issues???

Wouldn't it be more humane

Wouldn't it be more humane to use inmates on death row or child molesters that are in prison instead of goats?


Or people who self-certify that they are NOT COPS!

Let's say Justin Goodman's

father was gravely injured in a military fight. Would he want the medic who was only trained by a simulator or a medic trained on real life animals with real tissue and bones to attend to his Dad or his son if he has one old enough to serve? Face it, there are certain things a "simulator" can not give you. Let face it, Human Beings are MORE important than animals. God did give us a different type of brain and it needs to be used properly. Domain over all.

The limits of simulators

The first time you cut into a living thing, even for something as minor as dental surgery, it is a big deal. You hesitate, fail to cut deep enough, move too slow.

Someone who is training to be a surgeon will get to do it enough in the course of their training to get over the hesitation and uncertainty while under the eye of an instructor to be competent when he gets out on his own.

But soldiers and even first responders, might go years without any actual exposure to trauma, and then find themselves suddenly awash with torn bodies and severed limbs.

Simulators can teach technique, but there is a need to experience that 'first time' if you are to be ready when coolness and sureness means somebody goes home alive.

Why not use violent offenders in prison?

Murderers, rapists, child molesters and such?

A human being would be much more realistic and these human animals have actually committed horrible crimes against society and perhaps more justifiably warrant such vicious and inhumane treatment, unlike innocent goats who have offended no one.

Comment deleted

Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Cheering or advocating violence


Or open minded whiners!

PETA and goats

Send those camera toters to PA. We have laws against taking pictures without permission. That should slow the PETA vegans down!

Maybe Gosnell's place

Maybe they can go on a hunt looking for the likes of Gosnell's little place. If there's one, there are two.

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