Just a week after a "surplus" giraffe was killed at a Danish zoo, Denmark is once again embroiled in an animal cruelty controversy. According to PETA's British and German affiliates, the Danish military is using live pigs for target practice and medical training. [Warning, the following images are disturbing.]
It's called Operation Danish Bacon — a training regimen in which live animals are used to re-create battlefield injuries.
The new images, which were provided by PETA, show pigs being shot and blown up as they're strung from wooden rafters. Military personnel can be seen using AK-47 rifles and 9mm handguns. Then, to give army medics the experience of working on gunshot wounds, the animals are operated upon. The pigs are later killed, even if the surgery is a success.
According to a Mirror report, British army surgeons have been sending surgeons to Jaegerspris Kaserne in Denmark twice a year to take part in the exercises — even though the practice is illegal in Britain.
Thankfully, the pigs are anaesthetized throughout the ordeal. From The Mirror:
During the training the pigs are "subjected to bullet and blast wounds", the UK Government has confirmed. PETA has appealed to the Danish Minister of Defence to stop the country's animal-based trauma training exercises.
Campaigners argue that hi-tech human simulators should be used instead, adding that they are more realistic than using live animals.
A PETA spokesman said: "Eighty 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.
"This is used by the Nato Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine, as well as other non-animal methods that have repeatedly been shown in military and civilian studies to teach lifesaving skills better than crude animal laboratories."
This practice may also be a violation of Denmark's own Animal Welfare Act, which requires that non-animal methods be used to train the military whenever possible.
According to a former U.S. military medical worker, lifelike human simulators are a far superior way of preparing doctors to treat injured humans. The so-called Caesar patient simulator, which breathes and bleeds, can be used anywhere.
All images: Jorn Stjerneklar/PETA.