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U.S. Army will stop using monkeys for training

Live monkeys used in dangerous and harmful Army chemical warfare training will be replaced by non-animal alternatives, the U.S. Army recently announced.

Instead of live animals, the Army plans on using a combination of trained actors, computer programs and mannequin-like technological simulators to train soldiers, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reports.

Kathleen Conlee, the senior director of Animal Research Issues at the HSUS said that the switch will not only spare animal suffering, it will result in more highly-trained soldiers because the methods more closely simulate the human experience, the news source reports.

The monkeys have been used to show soldiers how the chemical warfare-related injuries would affect victims. Symptoms would include breathing difficulties, intense sweating and salivation, vomiting, muscle twitching, violent seizures, severely low blood pressure and oxygen levels, and urination and defecation.

The decision was made after more than 1,000 HSUS supporters contacted the Army urging that the use of monkeys come to an end. U.S. Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Republican from Maryland, also supported the change.  
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