Study Finds UK Among the Few NATO Nations that Use Animals for Military Training

For Immediate Release:

14 August 2012


Ben Williamson +44 (0)7525 411 733; [email protected]

London – A new study published in the August 2012 issue of Military Medicine, the journal of US military surgeons, reveals that 22 of 28 NATO nations do not use animal laboratories for military medical training.

Researchers from PETA US, in collaboration with current and former military medical personnel, surveyed officials in all 28 NATO nations during 2010 and 2011. Twenty-two 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 – confirmed that they do not use animals in military medical training. Officials reported that they use exclusively non-animal methods – such as life-like human simulators in realistic battlefield scenarios – for various reasons, including legal prohibitions against animal use and the superiority of simulation technology.

Six NATO countries – Canada, Denmark, Norway, Poland, the UK and the US – reported using animals in invasive and often deadly procedures.

“The overwhelming majority of NATO allies have moved beyond shooting, stabbing and dismembering animals in crude and cruel training exercises”, says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. “Superior non-animal methods are used exclusively by civilian surgeons and accident and emergency specialists in the UK. These methods ensure that professionals deliver a high standard of care to the victims of major accidents and violent crime. PETA US’s report documents that modern trauma-training technology is widely available around the world. The continued use of live animals by UK and US armed forces is impossible to justify.”

UK military personnel take part in biennial training exercises in Denmark that involve live pigs (informally known in military circles as “Danish bacon”), even though modern simulators that “breathe” and “bleed” have been shown to better prepare doctors and medics to treat injured humans than animal laboratories. Medical training of this kind that employs live animals is not currently permitted in the UK.

The Military Medicine study is available upon request. To learn more, visit