The U.S. Marine Corps says that 1,374 of the 40,000 troops assigned to Camp Pendleton's I Marine Expeditionary Force have or will undergo "live tissue training" involving the wounding of anesthetized pigs that are later destroyed, the North County Times reported.
The controversial training that is scheduled to last until November is coming under increasing scrutiny in Congress and elsewhere with calls to halt the practice. Others, such as local Reps. Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter, say it's a vital element of training for troops headed to war, the paper reported.
The training is taking place at a private avocado grove in Valley Center, where Deployment Medicine International conducts classes under a $1 million contract with the Marine Corps.
The troops learn not only how to recognize and treat a wound, but also come away with a psychological preparedness for what they may encounter on the battlefield.
Animal rights groups are among those who contend that there are better ways to provide such training, citing realistic medical mannequins or embedding medics and others in civilian trauma centers.