UK

UK Military Accused Of Killing Animals In Training Exercises

23/08/2013 10:12 BST | Updated 23/10/2013 10:12 BST

Animal rights campaigners have urged the EU to investigate the British military's "cruel" use of live animals in battlefield surgery training exercises.

Peta have said the training involves the "shooting, stabbing and breaking the bones of live pigs and other animals."

The animal welfare campaigners have now demanded an inquiry into the use of animals in "deadly medical trauma training" by the British, Danish, Norwegian and Polish militaries.

Peta told HuffPost it is "unscrupulous" for the MoD to "outsource this unnecessary cruelty."

pig

Peta has accused the British military of harming animals without need

Conceding that "the men and women who risk their lives in battle deserve the best possible training," Peta said "sending soldiers to participate in reprehensible exercises that inflict severe injury and death on pigs does not improve the preparedness of the UK's military medical teams."

British army doctors are trained in battlefield surgery at a Danish facility where, The Ministry of Defence says, animals are heavily anaesthetised and handled humanely by veterinary staff during training exercises.

However, Peta have claimed the training violates EU laws that say animals must not be used when other options – such as life-like human-patient simulators or mannequins – are available.

The group claims the militaries of 22 of the 28 Nato nations, including 19 other EU states, are currently using exclusively non-animal trauma training models in a letter to the European Commission director-general for environment, Karl Falkenberg.

"Animals don’t start wars, and there’s no excuse for torturing them in these archaic 'war games'," Peta said in a statement.

"The Ministry of Defence has been sending recruits to Denmark to take part in drills in which live pigs are lined up at a firing range and shot with high-velocity bullets. Some of the animals sustain organ injuries and multiple bone fractures – any who survive are later killed.

"It’s perfectly possible to maintain a first-class modern military without abusing and mutilating animals in the process," they added.

"This is not a choice between saving animals and saving human beings – instead it's about using modern and effective simulation tools that will better train medical personnel to save lives on the battlefield", said PETA Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi.

"If nearly 80% of the UK's NATO allies – including 19 EU member states – rely on superior non-animal training methods, so can the UK, Denmark, Norway and Poland."

The MoD said:"This training provides invaluable experience, exposing our surgical teams to the specific challenges posed by the injuries of modern armed conflict.

"It has helped save lives on operations and by participating in the Danish exercises we minimise the overall number of animals used.

"Where simulation can be used for training we do so however at the moment for pre-deployment surgical trauma training, simulation does not meet the training requirement."

In 2012, Peta uncovered shocking video footage showing training instructors hired by the US military breaking and cutting off the limbs of live goats with tree trimmers, stabbing the animals, and pulling out their internal organs.

WARNING: The video below shows scenes that some viewers may find upsetting