Taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project (WCWP) recently filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for withholding documents related to its stabbing, shooting, and burning of live pigs, goats, and dogs in medical training drills. Last year, a WCWP investigation revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US Marshals Service, which are both housed under the DOJ, spent $120,000 on contracts for live tissue training—even though more efficient and cost-effective human simulators are available to teach emergency medical skills.

House Judiciary Committee member Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Vice Chair of the DOJ’s funding panel Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) joined the effort and sent a strongly-worded letter to the DOJ expressing their concern. “The use of animals for this training is expensive, obsolete, unnecessary, and opposed by most Americans,” the letter said.

In October 2019, WCWP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for public records relating to the agency’s live tissue training—including paid invoices, training guides, and non-disclosure agreements the agency is legally obligated to disclose to taxpayers. The lawsuit was filed after the DOJ failed to meet its legal obligation and provide the documents. 

“The Department of Justice’s wasteful and outdated live tissue training exercises are straight out of a horror movie. It’s no wonder the DOJ is trying to hide the details of how it’s stabbing, shooting, and burning live animals at taxpayers’ expense,” Arin Greenwood, Communications Director for WCWP, told VegNews. “We filed this lawsuit because taxpayers have a right to know how our money is being spent so we can hold the DOJ accountable for forcing Americans to pay for this sick taxpayer-funded animal torture.”

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