The British army's animal welfare policies have come under fire after a document revealed that live pigs have been blown up and made to suffer "severe battlefield trauma." Obtained through a Freedom of Information Request by the UK's Daily Mirror, the documents also reveal that some 115 animals were killed in three years at a base belonging to the UK Ministry of Defence.
This comes just weeks after other disturbing allegations against the UK military were revealed, including soldiers shooting live pigs to simulate battle wounds. The practice is outlawed in the country, but the Mirror says the army sends trainees to Denmark to perform the tests.
"The UK military's involvement in the cruel and archaic exercises is impossible to justify medically, ethically or educationally," said Mimi Bekhechi, director of animal welfare group PETA UK. She added that the practice is not popular elsewhere. "If more than 80 per cent of our NATO allies including 20 EU member states have modernised their armed forces and no longer train military medical personnel using animals, then the British armed forces can switch too."
An EU directive on the topic states: "Member States shall ensure that, wherever possible, a scientifically satisfactory method or testing strategy, not entailing the use of live animals, shall be used instead of a procedure".
While pigs are genetically very similar to humans, there are numerous alternatives to animal trauma training methods, including life-like human-patient simulators, which are used by many countries.
You can sign a petition telling the UK army to stop training on live pigs here.