PETA rushes to stop the Navy’s treatment of sheep

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A leading animal rights group is aiming to pull the wool out of the eyes of Department of Defense and Navy officials in a bid to end “horrible and often deadly” decompression tests on sheep and other animals.

In a letter sent to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday, the nonprofit organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on the Pentagon chief to “end US Navy support for the horrific illnesses/diseases of decompression (DCS/DCI) and oxygen toxicity tests on animals”. This follows a similar letter the organization sent to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro in June.

“The United States Navy is literally wiping out the lives of sheep and other animals in crude and painful decompression tests that only serve to leave the United States even further behind the rest of the world,” said Shalin Gala, vice – President of PETA International Laboratory Methods. a note to the Military Times. “PETA is calling on Secretary of Defense Austin to shift to superior, human-relevant research instead of gobbling up money and animal lives on archaic tests.”

The military has a history of using sheep in its research — and to graze on or near its bases — but this case marks another example defenders cite as why the Pentagon should be wary of using of animals in its testing procedures.

The Navy is said to have carried out the tests to learn more about the fight against decompression sickness – commonly known as “the bends” – which occurs when bubbles form in the blood, muscles and organs. It has been known to occur when the body rises from an intensely pressurized environment, such as moving from a deep ocean to shallower waters.

During the Navy experiments, which took place in San Diego, sheep were placed in high-pressure chambers to replicate what naval divers would experience on the high seas, according to PETA’s press release. The sheep were then forced to decompress in the chambers, likely causing the farm animals to experience “crippling joint pain, convulsions, nausea, paralysis, vomiting, burning and deep chest pain,” the letter states. initial to Del Toro.

Rear Adm. BL Gillingham, Navy Surgeon General, responded with his own letter to PETA, writing, “The Navy recognizes the importance of ensuring that research into the use of animals is undertaken in the most ethical way possible and shares your goal of replacing animal research models with alternative models”.

“While the Navy continues its best efforts to engage in research that does not require the use of animals, there are still critical areas of study, which remain impossible without the use of model research. animals.”

This particular PETA complaint, meanwhile, isn’t the first time the nonprofit has found itself counting sheep.

In 2010, a petition filed by PETA and other animal rights groups led to a criminal investigation that canceled Marine Service funding for decompression sickness experiments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, according to the PETA statement.

According to the animal rights group, US allies such as France and the UK have already ended their decompression tests on animals, adding that research conducted on humans would offer more accurate and informed results.

Observation Post is the Military Times’ one-stop-shop for everything off-duty. Stories may reflect the author’s observations.

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