Urge the Danish Military to Stop Killing Pigs in Trauma Training!

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PETA and another PETA entity have filed a complaint urging the Danish minister of defense to end Denmark's deadly use of animals in military live-tissue training (LTT) completely. PETA U.K. first exposed the training in 2014 with graphic photos that show live pigs hung from a wooden frame and shot to inflict traumatic injuries. PETA's campaign escalation comes on the heels of new evidence that Denmark reduced the number of animals mutilated for these training drills by 91% from 2016 to 2020 following extensive discussions with PETA U.S. and PETA entities.

During these LTT exercises, the Danish military uses pigs as stand-ins for troops wounded in combat and medical personnel purportedly practice surgeries on the live, bleeding animals. 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 lung[s]," "airway injury," and "eye damage."

photo of pig used in live tissue training

Globally, LTT is the exception, not the rule. In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard—following a PETA eyewitness investigation and extensive discussions—ended what the agency's leader at the time called "abhorrent" trauma training on animals in favor of advanced human-simulation technology. A 2019 study also found that LTT using animals fails to "change trauma patient outcome, or improve performance of the skills taught, when performed in the real-world operating room."

Loving and 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 have been shown in military and civilian studies to prepare doctors and medics to treat injured humans more effectively than using animals.

Pigs are social, playful, protective animals who bond with each other. They're known to dream, recognize 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.

cute photo of pigs

Please TAKE ACTION to help put an end to these barbaric trauma training drills on animals by sending a letter to the Danish minister of defense urging an immediate suspension of LTT while the military investigates and adopts modern, effective, non-animal methods. Please also push for the adoption of a definitive timeline for fully ending the Danish armed forces' use of animals for LTT.

PETA Germany first contacted the ministry about ending the live-animal drills in 2011.

In response to a recent Freedom of Information request, the Danish Defence Command told PETA's affiliate in July 2020 that the armed forces used 110 animals for LTT in 2016 compared to nine in 2020. Disturbingly, it also replied that "a detailed list of equipment reviewed is not available," when asked to name which specific simulation models have been evaluated in order know if it's possible to eliminate animal use in LTT fully.

The law in Europe (Directive 2010/63/EU) requires the use of non-animal methods whenever possible, and Denmark's apparent ignorance of all available non-animal methods is not a legally permitted excuse for continuing to use animals in LTT.

Troels Lund

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