Last year, White Coat Waste Project (WCW) finally obtained receipts that the Department of Justice (DOJ) tried VERY HARD to keep secret: concrete proof that it spent tens of thousands of your tax dollars to maim and kill live animals in cruel “live tissue training” exercises.
But following investigations and advocacy from WCW, live tissue training exercises at DOJ may soon be a thing of the past. Eighteen (bipartisan!) Members of Congress, led by Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA), have sent a letter to Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland, citing WCW’s work and asking him to end all LTT exercises at the Department of Justice.
These exercises, which we first exposed in 2019 and that the Department of Defense has called “outdated and cost-prohibitive” and “not anatomically accurate,” involve stabbing, shooting, burning, and dismembering pigs, goats, and even dogs as part of law enforcement officers’ medical training.
Getting the Department of Justice to release these documents wasn’t easy. First, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request. DOJ refused to provide the records we asked for.
Now, we’re used to government departments and agencies flouting federal transparency laws…but if any department was likely to follow the law, you’d guess it would be the Department of Justice, right?
So we sued for the records — and we won. DOJ had to hand over the documents.
In addition to this legal victory, we also won in the court of public opinion, with a June 2020 poll finding that 66 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats, and 59 percent Independents wanted Congress to bring an end to DOJ’s ‘live tissue training’ (LTT) atrocities.
And now, a bipartisan coalition in Congress is trying to do just that.
In a February 17, 2022 letter to AG Garland, Rep. Dean—Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee that has oversight over DOJ—and 17 bipartisan colleagues urged the DOJ to “permanently discontinue wasteful and unnecessary ‘live tissue training’ for department personnel.”
“Wasteful and unnecessary”? It’s like Congress read our minds! Or maybe just our blog. In fact, we know they did — because our research is heavily cited in the letter.
Mentioning that other federal agencies have already discontinued the use of LTT, Rep. Dean’s letter also highlighted the fact that humane alternatives, like “highly realistic [simulation] training,” are more educational, cost less, and don’t harm animals. The letter also noted that DOJ already possesses the “human simulation technology” it needs in order to make LTT a thing of the past.
Co-signers of Rep. Dean’s letter include Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Brian Mast (R-FL), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Bill Posey (R-FL), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA) and Dina Titus (D-NV).
We hope AG Garland will listen. If he responds, we’ll keep you posted.
But while we’re waiting, you can help by signing our petition, asking DOJ to stop wasteful and deadly live tissue training on animals!