PETA Calls On Danish Defence Minister To Ban Cruel Military Training Exercises Depicted In Graphic Photos

For Immediate Release:

18 February 2014


Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; [email protected]

High-resolution photos of the military exercises are available here: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6, Photo 7, Photo 8, Photo 9. Photos should be credited to photographer, Jørn Stjerneklar.

London – PETA UK and its German affiliate have appealed to the Danish Minister of Defence (MoD), Nicolai Wammen, to end Denmark’s invasive and deadly animal-based trauma training exercises, in which live pigs are shot and blown up in order to cause traumatic wounds. PETA has recently obtained horrific, never-before-seen photographs from this crude course that show live pigs hung from a wooden frame and shot with rifles and handguns to inflict traumatic injuries, after which military personnel operate on the pigs, who are then killed.

In their letter, the groups point out that more than 80 per cent of NATO allies have already ended the cruel use of animals in archaic military medical training exercises. Instead of shooting, stabbing and blowing up animals, military personnel in these nations are trained to treat traumatic injuries using life-like human-patient simulators – such as the state-of-the-art Caesar military simulator, which is used by the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine – and other non-animal methods that have been repeatedly shown in military and civilian studies to teach life-saving skills better than crude animal laboratories.

In addition, both the EU’s Directive 2010/63/EU and Denmark’s Animal Welfare Act require that non-animal methods be used to train the military whenever available. Maiming animals in this way is also not permitted in Britain under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, yet UK military personnel are shamefully participating in this biennial training, which is part of the Danish surgical training course informally known in military circles as “Danish bacon”.

“Clearly, if 23 NATO nations (20 of which are EU member states) can train military medical personnel without the use of animals, the Danish and British armed forces can and must do so, too”, says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. “The UK government’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.”

Twice a year, the British Army sends surgeons to Jaegerspris Kaserne in Denmark to take part in these exercises during which, the UK government has confirmed, pigs are “subjected to bullet and blast wounds”.

PETA has previously appealed to the UK MoD to end its participation in these crude exercises and filed a complaint with the European Commission against Denmark. Following discussions with PETA UK and PETA US, the Polish military – which was until recently among the small minority of EU nations still using animals – replaced its animal laboratories with simulation technology. 

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