“Homeland” Producer Gideon Raff Speaks Out Against Using Animals in Military Training

Raff wrote to the Secretary of Defense on behalf of PETA.

By: Luke Mullins

Gideon Raff, executive producer of the Emmy-winning Showtime series Homeland, has written a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressing his opposition to the military’s use of animals in medical training exercises.

The December 7 letter, written on behalf of People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals, adds Raff to the list of celebrity veterans—such as former The Price Is Right host Bob Barker and director Oliver Stone—who oppose what PETA calls “the military’s war on animals,” according to PETA.

The letter:

December 7, 2012

The Honorable Leon Panetta Secretary of Defense

Via e-mail: leon.panetta@osd.mil

Dear Mr. Secretary,

Having served as a paratrooper in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), I have the utmost concern for the health and security of the heroic service members—like those portrayed on my shows Homeland and Prisoners of War—who risk their lives to protect our safety and freedom. But the U.S. Department of Defense is not saving soldiers’ lives by shooting, dismembering, blowing up, and killing thousands of animals each year for crude medical training drills. I am troubled that this violence still goes on when more humane and effective ways of training medics and doctors are available, so I have joined PETA’s campaign to end this cruel practice.

You may be aware that recent research by trauma surgeons with the IDF Medical Corps found that military staff’s confidence in performing lifesaving battlefield medical procedures increased when they were trained with sophisticated human simulators and after having experience with real patients—but not after completing crude animal laboratories. The IDF Medical Corps has also previously stated that animal laboratories are not suitable for teaching physicians and medics how to diagnosis and treat injuries in high-pressure situations in austere environments and that simulation-based training better improves the skills and coordination of those deployed for military missions.

Caring for the well-being of animals and preparing the troops serving our countries are not mutually exclusive. In this case, sparing animals pain and death in training drills means that military personnel receive better medical training and ultimately better care if they are wounded on the battlefield.

Sincerely yours, Gideon Raff