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Collins throws support behind bill ending animal mutilation for military medical training

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Congressman Chris Collins has thrown his support behind a bill that bans a practice he calls "grotesque" and "unnecessary," and is one many may not know continues in the U.S. military. It is the mutilation of animals for purposes of training military field medics.

Collins met recently with actress Edie Falco, who has been campaigning to end the use of live animals for military field trauma training. A bill ending the practice was introduced earlier this year but the Western New York representative admitted that, with hundreds of pieces of legislation awaiting discussion, this one was under most everyone's radar.

He suspects it won't be for much longer. 

"The thought that you could mutilate a goat or a pig and have a medical professional or someone in the military use this as training, to then subsequently treat human beings on the battlefield, makes no sense whatsoever," Collins said. 

It's a practice that the Department of Defense recommended back in 2010 be put to rest. Collins says 17 military installations are still doing it. 

The Buffalo area Republican says sophisticated simulators exist that better mimic human subjects, from bleeding to organs, that ends the need for animals to suffer and then, when the training is finished, be put down. 

Collins told WBFO he read testimonials from several that trained under this system who feel they did nothing but make an animal suffer unnecessarily.

"The people who have been exposed to it say they didn't get anything useful out of it," Collins said. "It's barbaric."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.