Cathy Goeggel on Military Use of Animals

Animal Rights Hawaii activist Cathy Goeggel recently posted to an animal rights list a letter she wrote to the editor of The Honolulu Advertiser decrying the military use of animals such as dolphins and chickens. Lets have a look,

The Bush administration proudly proclaims that our military is all-volunteer. This is not true for animals that are unwilling conscripts in a war in which they have no interest.

During this war, the gas-detector chickens have all died — to be replaced with pigeons whose fate is unknown, but not promising. Dolphins and sea lions have been trained to detect mines and carry underwater cameras; they have also been trained to attack enemy personnel and even conduct suicide detonations of ordinance. They have no choice regarding their service. These animals have no enemies in this war. They have been placed in harm’s way just as horses, elephants, dogs and others have been used in battle over the ages and have died in the thousands.

In fact the U.S. Navy denies that it ever trained dolphins to attack either enemy personnel or ships, and reports that the Soviet Union had such a program also appear to be based largely on rumor and conjecture. Using a dolphin as a weapon would be awfully expensive when there are much cheaper and more reliable methods to destroy a target.

Those numbers pale, however, compared to those animals that suffer in Department of Defense laboratories (such as Tripler Army Medical Center) and biohazard facilities. Those animals receive absolutely no protection under federal or state law. They are shot, poisoned, vivisected, irradiated, deliberately exposed to disease and, when their usefulness is over, incinerated.

The Tripler Army Medical Center is a major hospital and research center in Hawaii. It hosts the only Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care accredit animal facility in the Pacific.

It has conducted research on everything from fetal alcohol syndrome to the safety of candidate vaccines for anthrax, and is the proposed site for a $150 million Biomedical Research Center.


Letter to the editor. Cathy Goeggel, Honolulu Advertiser, April 2003.

Report backs multi-agency research center at Tripler. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Press Release, May 14, 2001

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