San Diego — Mere hours after receiving a formal complaint from PETA, San Diego County officials have launched an investigation into a whistleblower report that PETA received alleging that Alpine, Calif.–based paramilitary training operation Covert Canyon LLC has allowed deadly trauma exercises on pigs to be illegally conducted on its property for nearly five years—an activity that San Diego County has repeatedly ordered Covert Canyon to cease and desist from engaging in. According to the whistleblower, who is a San Diego resident and has cosigned PETA’s complaint to the county calling for officials to deny Covert Canyon a permit to continue the training, Virginia-based Assessment and Training Solutions Consulting Corporation conducted exercises at Covert Canyon in which pigs were shot, mutilated, and killed as recently as February 8. Aerial video footage of the property taken by KFMB News Channel 8 during this time shows bloodstained soil, medical stretchers, and garbage bags that may have been filled with animals’ bodies.
PETA has also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging that the use of animals for these exercises may violate the federal Animal Welfare Act, which requires that alternatives to animals be used for such training whenever possible.
“Our military personnel need the best training possible. They do not need to waste their time on crude exercises that mutilate and kill pigs and don’t prepare them to treat human victims of war,” says PETA Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. “It’s time for San Diego County to put an end to Covert Canyon’s cruel and illegal animal-killing operation for good.”
U.S. military training facilities around the world, including the U.S. Navy Trauma Training Center in Los Angeles, already use cadavers and superior, modern simulators instead of animals to teach trauma-management skills. And bipartisan federal legislation H.R. 1417 has been introduced by San Diego Rep. Bob Filner to phase out animal use in military trauma training completely in favor of state-of-the-art simulation and other non-animal methods.