New Simulator Could Replace Horrific Training Exercises on Live Pigs
Despite the wonders of modern science, some experimenters continue to conduct archaic, deadly shockwave tests on pigs. But thanks to two UK scientists, simulators may be able to replace the use of animals in blast-related experiments.
Dr Mainul Haque of the University of Portsmouth’s School of Mathematics and Physics and intensive-care consultant and Royal Navy Surgeon Commander Timothy Scott have teamed up to create a simulator like no other. The computerised system aims to study the treatments for blast-related lung injuries caused by exposure to shockwaves from explosions. Pulling data gathered from actual war casualties – as well as other existing human and animal data sets – the model can simulate complete body systems and their reactions to injuries.
It’s ridiculous that we have to point this out to experimenters, but humans and pigs are anatomically very different. Yet the cruel exercises continue. Twice a year, UK military personnel travel to Denmark to take part in deadly animal-based trauma training exercises, in which live pigs “are subjected to bullet and blast wounds”. Animals who don’t die during the exercises are later killed.
In addition to being cruel, using live animals in blast experiments is inefficient and costly. As Scott and colleagues recently stated in a study published in the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, a simulator “is cheaper than animal modelling, requires less stringent ethical approval and can accommodate scenarios that are unachievable in live animal or human research, such as multiple casualties with multiple injury events”.
Nearly three-quarters of NATO nations have confirmed that they don’t use animals in military medical training, which shows that non-animal training methods are available and preferred.
What You Can Do
Please urge the Ministry of Defence to join the majority of the UK’s NATO allies in choosing not to shoot, stab, or dismember animals in military training exercises.