Ministry of Defence defends practice of shooting and injuring pigs for army medic training
Monday 19 November 2012
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has defended sending surgeons serving in the British Army to controversial medical training involving live pigs shot by marksmen to replicate battlefield wounds.
The military medical staff carry out the drills on pigs which are shot and then operated on at a course provided in Nato's training facilities in Jaegerspris, Denmark.
Formerly known as Operation Danish Bacon, the practice has been described by animal rights groups as "impossible to justify medically, ethically and educationally".
An MoD spokeswoman said: "This training provides invaluable experience, exposing our surgical teams to the specific challenges posed by the injuries of modern armed conflict.
"This training has helped save lives on operations and by participating in the Danish exercises we minimise the overall number of animals used."
The MoD argued that although the practice would not be illegal in the UK, approval would have to be obtained on a case-by-case basis from the Home Office.
It said that by participating in the Danish exercises rather than replicating them in the UK they are minimising the number of animals involved.
The Government suspended British participation in the surgical training exercises in the summer of 1998 after they were brought to the attention of ministers.
But the courses were re-instated after it was determined there was "no equally effective alternative" and that it was "entirely appropriate and, indeed, necessary" for military surgeons to carry out training on animals.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) described the procedure as "invasive and deadly".
Claiming it would be illegal in the UK, Peta called for life-like dolls that "breathe" and "bleed" to replace the use of live animals.
Mimi Bekhechi, associate director for Peta UK, said: "The overwhelming majority of the UK's Nato allies do not shoot, stab and dismember animals for their military training exercises.
"The Ministry of Defence's decision to ship out members of the armed forces for deadly and cruel exercises in Denmark - which would be illegal if conducted in the UK - is impossible to justify medically, ethically and educationally."
Eighteen pigs were used in the most recent tests earlier this month, the Mail on Sunday reported.
They had circles drawn on their underbellies before a three-man sniper team fired shots intended to damage organs but not kill, the paper said.
Surgeons then treated them as they would battle zone casualties, reportedly keeping the pigs alive for two hours before they were put down.
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportUnder-10s football coach sacked for telling parents he was 'only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Work until you’re 70: Chancellor George Osborne accused of ‘living in fantasy land’ over Autumn Statement pension reforms
Nigella Lawson: What made Charles Saatchi grab my throat - as she accuses him of threatening to 'destroy' her with drug claims
Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert
Paul Walker death: Eight-year-old son of Porsche driver Roger Rodas tried to rescue his father
- 1 North Korea: Kim Jong Un 'sacks powerful uncle and has his aides executed'
- 2 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert
£50000 - £70000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: SQL 2008 R2/2012 Deve...
£38000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Creative Audit Se...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, P...