News & Politics

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

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

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:

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

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.