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‘Homeland’ Creator: Stop Using Animals in Military Training

Gideon Raff of "Homeland" urges secretary of defense Leon Panetta to stop using animals in medical training exercises

"Homeland" executive producer Gideon Raff is urging a cease-fire between the U.S. military and the animal kingdom.

Getty ImagesJoining with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Raff has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, asking him to halt the use of animals in medical training exercises in favor of high-tech human simulators.

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In his letter, Raff — a former paratrooper in the Israeli Defense Forces — claims that research by the IDF Medical Corps indicates that military personnel are better prepared for battlefield medical procedures when they're trained with human stimulators and given real-life experience with patients than when they utilize "crude animal laboratories."

"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," Raff wrote in his letter to Panetta. ("Homeland" is a U.S. adaptation of his Israeli series, "Prisoners of War.")

"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," he added. "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."

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The letter concludes, "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."

Raff, a vegan whose pro-animal crusade includes lobbying against monkey experiments in Israel, isn't the only famous former military personnel to protest the U.S. government's use of animals in allegedly cruel capacities. Oliver Stone and Bob Barker have also condemned the practice.