PETA Urges Denmark to Stop Blasting, Shooting, Maiming Pigs in Trauma Drills

Posted by on September 24, 2020 | Permalink

PETA and our US affiliate have filed a complaint urging the Danish minister of defence to end Denmark’s deadly use of animals in military live tissue training (LTT) completely. We asked the minister to switch to superior human-relevant models, which nearly three-quarters of NATO allies use instead of animals, in accordance with EU law.

Amputations and Gunshot Wounds

During LTT exercises, the Danish military uses pigs as stand-ins for troops wounded in combat. Medical personnel purportedly practise surgeries on the live, bleeding animals. The list of injuries inflicted on the pigs will give you the shivers. According to official documents associated with this training, these sensitive animals are subjected to “war- and terror-related injuries”, including gunshot wounds, blast wounds, amputation, punctured lungs, airway injuries, and eye damage.

© Jørn Stjerneklar

PETA Germany first contacted the ministry about ending the live-animal drills in 2011. We released graphic photos of these exercises in 2014. They show live pigs hung from a wooden frame and shot with rifles and handguns to inflict traumatic injuries. The escalation of PETA’s campaign comes on the heels of new evidence that Denmark reduced the number of animals mutilated for these training drills by 91% between 2016 and 2020 following extensive discussions with PETA and our affiliates.

© Jørn Stjerneklar

In response to a recent freedom of information request, the Danish Defence Command told PETA in July 2020 that the Danish armed forces used 110 animals for LTT in 2016, compared to nine in 2020. However, Danish authorities claim there are no non-animal training models that meet their needs. When pressed by PETA to provide a list of the specific animal-free methods it had investigated, the Command replied that “a detailed list of equipment reviewed is not available”.

Image shows an example of trauma training from a US Marine unit

Animal-Free Training Methods Are Required by Law

These exercises are an apparent violation of EU law, which requires the use of non-animal methods whenever possible. Denmark’s apparent ignorance of all available non-animal methods is not a legally permitted excuse for continuing to use animals in LTT.

Loving, intelligent pigs have vastly different anatomy from humans, making these training exercises irrelevant to human battlefield medicine. Lifelike human simulators that “breathe” and “bleed” are widely available and can be used in far more realistic battlefield scenarios. They’ve been shown in military and civilian studies to prepare doctors and medics to treat injured humans more effectively than using animals.

Globally, LTT Is the Exception, Not the Rule

In 2017, the US Coast Guard, following a PETA US eyewitness investigation and extensive discussions, ended what the agency’s leader at the time called “abhorrent” trauma training on animals in favour of advanced human-simulation technology. A 2019 study also found that LTT fails to “change trauma patient outcome, or improve performance of the skills taught, when performed in the real-world operating room”.

You Can Help Pigs

Pigs are social, playful, protective animals who bond with each other. They’re known to dream, recognise their own names, and lead social lives of a complexity previously observed only in primates. They’ve even been seen showing empathy for other pigs who are happy or distressed.

Please take action to help end these barbaric trauma training drills on animals. Send a letter to the Danish minister of defence now: