Media Centre

Revealed: UK Military Killing Animals in Demark for Cruel Training Exercises – Nicknames 'Danish Bacon'

For Immediate Release:

18 November 2012

Contact:

Ben Williamson +44 (0)20 7837 6327, ext 229; BenW@peta.org.uk

London – PETA has appealed to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to end UK Armed Forces’ participation in invasive and deadly animal-based trauma training exercises, after it was revealed that British surgeons took part in drills, in which live pigs were shot with high-velocity bullets to sustain wounds, in Denmark earlier this month. British surgeons treated 18 pigs, who had been inflicted with life-threatening multi-organ injuries and bone fractures, in an exercise which took place between 6 and 8 November in Jaegerspris Kaserne. The animals were later killed as par for the course. Maiming animals in this way is not permitted in Britain under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 – and is also banned in 22 other NATO countries – which is why British soldiers are sent to Denmark to participate in these biennial exercises, informally known in military circles as "Danish bacon".

Life-like human simulators that "breathe" and "bleed" in realistic battlefield scenarios have been shown to better prepare doctors and medics to treat injured humans than animal laboratories. However, a recent response to a Freedom of Information request made by PETA, suggests that the MoD has not adequately considered nor implemented such superior non-animal trauma training methods that are used instead of animals by the militaries of more than three-quarters of NATO countries – including Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey.

"The overwhelming majority of the UK's NATO allies do not shoot, stab and dismember animals for their military training exercises", says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. "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 or educationally."

A 2012 study by researchers at the University of Toronto found that simulator-based training is superior to animal-based training for teaching surgical trauma skills to surgeons and that simulation is overwhelmingly preferred by both students and instructors. Likewise, in the August 2012 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Military Medicine, researchers found that doctors and paramedics belonging to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Medical Corps had little confidence in animal models, whereas the opposite was true of their experience of manikin and supervised and unsupervised patients. The IDF Medical Corps Trauma Branch previously noted that the use of animals in military trauma training is not suitable for diagnosis and decision-making in high-pressure, hostile situations in austere environments. Instead, these researchers found that scenario-based training using human-patient simulators and task trainers is rated as highly realistic by participants and has improved the individual performance, self-confidence and staff coordination of doctors and medics being deployed for military missions.

For more information, visit PETA.org.uk.

 

#