Makin bacon (courtesy dailyexpress.co.uk)

“The images appear to show the live animals strung up as targets moments before being shot during a course at Nato’s training facilities in Jaegerspris, Denmark,” dailyexpress.co.uk reports. “The pigs are shot by marksmen to replicate battlefield wounds so military medical staff including British Army doctors can train in emergency surgery. The so-called Operation Danish Bacon has been described as ‘impossible to justify medically, ethically and educationally’ by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said.” Outed by the animal lovers, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) did their best . . .

A spokeswoman for the MOD said: “Our military surgeons undertake vital training in Denmark where they learn specialist trauma treatment skills that save lives on the battlefield.

“All animals used in medical training are anaesthetised before they are treated and by participating in the Danish led exercises twice a year rather than conducting our own, we minimise the overall number of animals used.”

Anesthetized before they’re shot or after? Anyway, responding to public outcry, Her Majesty’s Government stopped the porcine EMT training back in ’89. And then reinstated it on the DL after discovering “no equally effective alternative.” PETA begs to differ.

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 [above].”

I wonder if Caesar ate bacon. [h/t AS]

144 Responses to Brit Military Docs Shoot Pigs to Practice Surgery. In Denmark

    • The US Army definitely did in the 80s. My dad, an army dentist, was sent by Uncle Sugar to the Combat Casualty Care Course (“C4”). I distinctly remember him telling me as a kid this involved emergency surgery on live goats that had been shot for this purpose. I have no idea whether they anesthetized them or not.

      • I did the “Goat Lab” training several times back in the 80’s with the 10th SFG(A) at Ft. Devens. One year I got to prep and shave the goats for the training, worst day of my life! Nothing like working in 90 degree heat while covered in smelly goat hair and fecal matter!

      • Knew an Army Ranger who was medic qualified while I was in college. This was ’97 and he talked about part of his training was trying to keep a live animal alive after it had been shot. At first I was kind of appalled but then I realized the practical applications and decided I was ok with anything that made them more proficient at saving soldiers’ lives.

        Simulators are great and all, but the closer to “real” you are in training the better off. Sadly, I bet some of these animal rights groups would be fine if they were using real people rather than animals.

        • “I bet some of these animal rights groups would be fine if they were using real people rather than animals”.

          Maybe if they accepted PETA volunteers as substitutes, you could spare some animals that way. It’s a twofer.

      • Yup yup.

        The reason you don’t see the same ones all the time is because they’re um, rotated from base to base. Yeah, that’s it.

    • Did it just a few years ago in the air force. We were testing out some new ECMO designs that use magnets. Cool stuff.

    • The only place PETA people should stand is in storefront windows. They’re a bunch of posers. They say they want to treat animals “humanely”–don’t even get me started on the perversion and colloquial use of that word–but if they really did, not a single PETA member would ever have a (human) guest in their rat and insect-infested, feces-laden houses. Hypocrites, every single one.

      • In the Miami-Dade area PETA operates the largest stray animal euthanizing center in the US. They’re absolutely Mengelian: “The poor animals! Let’s kill them.”

        • Nationwide PETA puts down over 90% of the animals the “SAVE” within 3 days. We have to kill the animal to save the animal. If I was an animal I’d run when if I saw a PETA member approaching me.

  1. Seems like a reasonable practice to me if it can save lives, but then again I shoot animals and eat them, so I doubt PETA would care to hear my opinion on it.

  2. A spokeswoman for the MOD said: “Our military surgeons undertake vital training in Denmark where they learn specialist trauma treatment skills that save lives on the battlefield.

    “All animals used in medical training are anaesthetised before they are treated and by participating in the Danish led exercises twice a year rather than conducting our own, we minimise the overall number of animals used.”

    Anesthetized before they’re shot or after? Anyway, responding to public outcry, Her Majesty’s Government stopped the porcine EMT training back in ’89. And then reinstated it on the DL after discovering “no equally effective alternative.” PETA begs to differ.

    I have to give the MOD credit, they are really sneaky and awesome when it comes to fooling anti-gun, anti-logic morons.

    The British Army now carries Glocks with a round in the chamber even though it has no true external safeties because they told the anti-gun morons that it had three safeties.

    This, after said morons had succeeded in getting them to carry BHPs without a round in the chamber years ago because it was “unsafe.”

    Now they’re doing this.

    Bravo.

  3. I seem to recall a story where US troops were using branch clippers to hack off the legs of live goats to practice tourniquets. Seems a garden hose and running water would work just as well.

    From 2012:

    In the shocking video, instructors repeatedly crack and cut off the limbs of live goats with tree trimmers, stab the animals with scalpels to cause internal injuries, and cut into their abdomens to crudely pull out their organs. Some of the goats moan loudly and kick their legs during the mutilations, which veterinarians who viewed the video say are signs that the goats were not adequately anesthetized and may have even been feeling pain.

    Read more: http://www.peta.org/blog/leaked-video-shows-goats-hacked-apart-military-training/#ixzz2tmx3jnfV

    Maybe it’s useful and necessary and maybe it’s not. To me as a meager observer it does turn my stomach a bit. But I’m not in it so what do I know.

    • Even funnier how PETA runs “animal shelters” then euthanizes the animals it rescues. In one state at least they have charges for illegally dumping dog carcasses in dumpsters.
      The only notice PETA gets from me is amusement everytime they get their panties in a bunch over some new issue they manufacture.

      • Ahh, the 9mm 45 argument, that only occurs in America. 9mm is Ok for the rest of the world.
        I would take a high power with 13, 15, 18 or 20 round magazines over a 7 or 8 shot 1911 any day. And I own several of each. If I were to go into combat a Glock 17 would make more sense.

        • I did like the Para-Ordnance double-stack 1911s when we could still have fun with them, but then I’ve got big hands – my own weapon was a Glock 21, which my USAian friend – ex-Army, Panama veteran, no hoplophobe – couldn’t fit his fingers around.

          The 1911 puts me in mind of a 1969 muscle car… the new Dodge Charger is a more reliable, more economical, generally more sensible and practical vehicle when you stick to an intellectual analysis, but when you see the original version it does come with a big helping of awesome.

          If I had to carry a sidearm and could only have one, it would probably be a Glock – indeed if I get issued one it *will* be a Glock – but if I was filling the gunsafe, a good 1911 would be in there, just because.

        • The answer is clearly both. FNX-45: 15 rounds of double stacked .45, to cover all your bases.

          It also has a nice side effect of being a psychological weapon: the sheer size of it is likely to make the target crap their pants.

  4. It IS somewhat distasteful. If the animals were euthanized immediately after being shot, and the meat put to good use, I could see it. The implication, though, is that they are learning to treat the injuries to the pigs, and having suffered through recovery from serious injuries myself, I would hate to see any animal put through that ordeal. If the training is limited to immediate battlefield first aid, the animals are anesthetized before shooting, and they are euthanized immediately after the first aid, I would not object quite as much, but it still bothers me.

    • Done pig labs multiple times, it is the best medical training you can do. The pigs are sedated, vets constantly walk around checking them, and if they start reacting in any way we let the vet know and them come give them a bump of anesthesia. As soon as we are done, they are given a shot which stops their heart. The pigs meat is not consumable due to the way they are euthanized. This is still the best way to train somebody on a injury, and pigs are incredibly similar to humans to begin with. The simulators are retarded and pretty much useless. You are not going to be able to replicate flesh without flesh. Yeah it is gruesome, but so are battlefield injuries.

      • Of course you can’t eat the meat with all the meds and things in it.

        Regarding pigs similarity to people: That and religion is the reason why I don’t eat pork

  5. There’s no simulator for a living body better than another living body. I want our medics and docs to have the best training available, and if that means sacrificing a few pigs and goats, so be it. I love animals, but I don’t put their value at the same level as a human’s value.

  6. Various organizations of the US Military – and the Coast Guard – have performed “Live Tissue Training” for decades. The animals are anesthesized and then subjected to various forms of combat trauma, to include gunshots, burns, and blunt force trauma. Whenever organizations such as PETA find out about it, they protest vociferously.

    Since some of the organizations doing this training are special mission units, it seems to me that there must be a good reason for it. I wish PETA cared as much about Soldiers as they do about goats and pigs.

  7. Leave that fookin’ prawn, man, I’ll shoot a pig! Sir, I’ll shoot a pig, but I’m not shooting that prawn, you hear me?

  8. If they really wanted authentic training they should shoot the pigs from a helicopter and then have the medics fly in and treat them in the field. And charge admission.

  9. lots of good bacon, ribs, pork chops, fatback, salt port, pigs feet, and even chittlins’ being wasted . . . that is the crime

    • Serious question: does anybody know where you can find good, THICK fatback anymore? Recently the cuts are too thin and lean. I need good szalonna!

      Humanely shoot pigs! If it can save JUST ONE LIFE……

      • “Nobody can do an anti-freeze marinade like you, Murdoch, but last time I got a little Bell’s palsy.”

        “It’s only partial paralysis.”

  10. This is excellent training. Trainees learn that they can keep the animal alive no matter what the trainers do to the animal. It is irreplaceable for teaching confidence in corpsmen and medics and incidental medics.

    The key is that the site for the training must never be the same place twice, it must be kept secret, and no one should be allowed to know where it is until they arrive. The animal rights people include a lot of very violent terrorists.

  11. Is the MOD doing this in lieu of having their doctors ‘practice’ in
    ERs or trauma centers or in addition to them?

    • Well considering its the British, they probably don’t get a lot of GSWs in their hospitals. For 18D trainees, they do both.

      • Not too many gunshot wounds OR wound and limbs lost due to the violence of an explosion. In either, a lot of bad things happen at once to an individual, and often to multiple people at the same event. Really stretches the medic thin at once.

        • British Doctors used to have plenty of GSW and explosion injuries, courtesy of Irish terrorism, This has not gone away, they had several letter bombs sent to Army recruiting offices just this week.
          I think you will find shooting are not unheard of in England nowadays.

        • From what I understand, between the ex-soviet bloc gangsters
          and the huge influx of “refugees” from the mideast gun shot
          wounds and even explosions have been on the uptick.

    • Still done where possible, but since Northern Ireland calmed down that’s taken away a lot of the trade in serious interpersonal violence for medics to practice on within the UK.

      For the last decade or so we’ve had Iraq, then Afghanistan, for live practice, but with that ending this year the MoD is heading off any risk of a skills gap among the medics. We’ve seen how much life and limb they can save, we don’t want to lose any more of that capability than we must…

  12. I don’t think it’s wrong to be a bit disturbed or upset by this, but we have to be mature and realistic enough to know this is a necessary evil.

  13. As an animal lover I find this distasteful. As a person who has seen injuries sustained in combat, hell, if it makes a Medic one iota more proficient in saving some poor kids life, I guess it’s worth it. In any case, I don’t want to watch it or take any part in it. Now if they could only use feral hogs, or child molesters, it would be a totally different story.

    Poor Wilbur getting strung up and shot just tugs on my heartstrings. Those crazy Danes…at least it wasn’t a baby Giraffe.

    • You can’t use child molestors for this kind of thing. No one would have an incentive to work on them at all after being shot. At least with porky you are trying because you don’t want to be cruel to the animal.

  14. If they are so touchy about using the pigs, I hear we’ve got some overcrowded prisons full of people who need to repay their debt to society.

    • Traditionally (back in the old days that is), Japanese sword makers would test their blades on the bodies or recently executed criminals with seven prescribed cuts. No warrior would dare go into battle with an untested blade. And today, no untested combat doc should go out in the field.

      Tell you what, let’s do an exchange program. We’ll have these guys do a rotation at the major urban hospitals such as Detroit, Chicago New York, Newark, and LA. Plenty of business–and more real life experience than patching up a pig. If there isn’t enough room, I hear there is lots of business in Venezuela and Brazil. Problem solved.

  15. It’s stomach turning but I’d rather a few pigs have an unpleasant death than soldiers bleed out on the field due to insufficient medical training.

    Makes a good case to hope we’re never contacted by intelligent alien life, though. Pigs have about 90% shared DNA with humans and we treat them like this… imagine what an alien might do to us. Hmm, maybe the probe crowd isn’t all crazy…

    • “With the limited size of their brains, humans can’t possibly feel any sort of real pain. Anal probes are practically harmless. In fact, a few specimens acquired from San Francisco seemed to rather enjoy it.”

  16. PETA kill tens of thousands of animals annually so they won’t be subjected to the same torture my pets are (sometimes we don’t even let them sleep in our bed!).

    But I digress…..point is that PETA knows about killing animals.

    The reality is that to learn to do surgery you have to operate on living tissue. Simulators are OK, but not the same. So you can learn on pigs and dogs or you can learn on people. Take your pick.

    Whenever I see people who are against animal testing, I wonder what they expect drug makers to use to test their drugs. Computer models can’t begin to “get” all the variables in physiologic systems. So if you can’t test on animals, I guess the best solution is to make an educated prediction on the drug and start “testing” on people….

    Of course, these people also believe in “Gun Free Zones” and “smart” guns.

    And probably the tooth fairy…..

  17. Given that PETA thinks eating a cheeseburger is “‘impossible to justify”, I’ll take their advice with a grain of salt.

  18. I’m surprised PETA took time off from euthanizing pets to even comment.

    As for the medical practice, this is the best way to learn. And they’re animals. And it’s painless to them. Move along, nothing to see here.

    • It’s restore my life and saved a few of my friends. It’s better to learn on Wilbur rather than discover the hard way that you need more than one tourniquet per limb when the guy has lost three limbs and is hemorrhaging from another place that can’t be ratcheted and has a collapsing lung.

      • I’ve seen similar things and agree. If it saves one boy’s life, it’s worth it. Blood makes me queasy, I can give you the tail numbers of every Blackhawk I puked in and had to hose out. Any training that helps those kids make it through is worth the life of a pig. Even though I like pigs. Army medics, PJs and Navy Corpsman deserve serious respect.

  19. And finally; If you were a GI and wounded would you want your medic to have only been trained on a garden hose?
    Didn’t think so

    • Also, the simulator itself needs to be developed and upgraded on the basis of real tests, or it’s not even going to be useful for what it is useful for – so it has the same moral issues as the real thing (people thinking like that don’t count it as a win if you get smaller levels of harm that way, or they would also buy into animal testing that saves human lives). It’s the same defect as with arguments that you don’t need nuclear weapons testing because you can model that mathematically instead. Where do the models come from?

  20. The real key is whether the animals are adequately anesthetized BEFORE being wounded. NO aspect of medical or trauma training requires that the animal be aware of the injury since it does not affect the management in any positive way. At all. There are humane ways to do this and then there are cruel ways. Any ends-justify-the-means argument falls flat.

    That said, if they want real animal trauma simulation, they should just assign the trainees to follow various SWAT teams around the U.S. and render aid to the swath of wounded dogs lying in their wake. 😉

  21. I’m going to get flamed for this, but if the government stopped sending troops to places they had no business being in the first place then maybe there would be less battlefield injuries to treat. I also can’t see any government doing this testing terribly efficiently. That’s not to say I’m against killing animals if there is a purpose, such as food.

    • And if there were fewer (not less) battlefield injuries to treat, would you stop training? A combat medic is a combat medic, whether he sees one day of combat in his career or a hundred. And in the meantime, his skills can be put to use in other areas, like if someone blows up a train, or flies a plane into a building, or blows up a federal building.

      • Or an earthquake hits Mexico, or a tsunami hits Micronesia, or, or, or… Our combat medics are first responders to tragedies around the globe. I want them trained as best they can.

      • Agree. Even if we had a more restrained foreign policy I don’t think we would want to eliminate all of the military. Decrease the front line soldiers, sure, make it more of a mobilization army like WWII. But you still need institutional knowledge in the officer corps and NCOs, and specialties. That includes medical personnel.

        Because while I may be okay with that farm boy who is going up the hill having a little less training in how to keep his hands out of his pockets I would be very uncomfortable getting patched up by a medic who gets a puzzled look on his face and has to flip through his notes half-way through…

  22. Send these troops-in-training to some inner-city E.R. any night of the week…say in Chicago or D.C….they’ll get all the trauma experience they need and on real actual humans!: gun shots, stabbings, blunt force trauma, etc. And the E.R.s in those gun-free cities are the best when it comes to volume of cases, curiously.

      • Why not? Seems like it be win-win for all medics and
        corpsmen to work on an ambulance or as ER nurses
        for 6-12 months as part of their training. A friend of
        mine actually just went to the Navy Corpsmen school
        and did 3 months on an ambulance crew in Chicago;
        sort of like a residency requirement.

  23. Anyone who grew up on a farm can see why there is no substitute for live animals.You need to know who is capable of working on a wounded animal and who isn’t. I have seen macho men panic and become completely useless when confronted by farm animals with only minor wounds.

  24. I remember animal lab day during my Advanced Trauma Life Support class….fun and enjoyable? Hell no. Valuable training? Absolutely. Simulators are outstanding but there is nothing like working on a living breathing creature. I remember no one made any “Porky” jokes or anything. Everyone seemed to recognize that this was serious business and that a sacrifice was being made to further their education so that they might help others.

  25. I wonder if PETA realizes that they:
    1. Eat food that food eats. (how dare they?)
    2. Consume oxygen better consumed by rats and other rodents (how dare they?)
    3. Emit greenhouse gasses with every exhalation and flatulation (how dare they?)
    4. That if animals were more important than human lives that animals would be at the top of the food chain.

  26. It’s pretty sickening. I’ve hunted and killed animals, but I’m a little uncomfortable with this.

    But… I also don’t want good people dying on the battlefield because those providing emergency care aren’t trained. I’d rather sacrifice a pig to save a hundred soldiers’ lives.

  27. “Outed by the animal lovers, the Ministry of Defense [sic] (MOD) did their best . . .”

    Not only is it discourteous to Americanise the spelling of a proper name like “Ministry of Defence” (like the wrong spelling of Britain’s “Labor Party” instead of “Labour Party”, or the reverse, like the wrong spelling “Australian Labour Party” instead of “Australian Labor Party”), it can interfere with searches for the groups involved.

  28. If you don’t find this in the least bit disturbing, you may have a dangerously low ability to emphasize with suffering, which is what makes people sociopaths.

    At the same time, setting emotions aside, sometimes this kind of stuff is the only way we can get things done (ditto for medical testing etc). So long as proper protocol is followed – animals anesthetized before subjected to trauma etc.

  29. This is not about labels, not about PETA or animal lovers, this about YOU. This is about ethics, compassion, love and respect for all living things. What makes you feel superior or what gives you the right to use sentient beings as objects? Are their PAIN any different than your pain?
    Don’t just answer, THINK and put yourself in their places for one moment, try to visualise and feel the terror and pain these vulnerable innocent animals have to endure because of our greed-oriented society. Why do they have to suffer for our mistakes. Why can’t they be left alone in their simple and beautiful world.
    Perhaps, we should learn with them and choose a simple, less complicated life for our “temporary” journeys.
    That which you hate to be done to you, do not do it to other. We ALL desire to live and are afraid to die.

    ” Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?”

    • “What makes you feel superior or what gives you the right to use sentient beings as objects?”

      Genesis 1:26
      “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

      • Rich,
        Ever been to a slaughter house to see how the animals are killed? Not pretty so think about it when you eat your next burger.

        Also if doing this to pigs and goats trains people to save the lives of wounded soldiers then those animals are doing something more than just eating, sleeping, mating and defecating. If they were wild they would eventually be dying of starvation of having their throats ripped out by a predator.

        • “Ever been to a slaughter house to see how the animals are killed?”

          Yup. I was about seven years old, and we took the tour of the Hormel packing plant in Austin, MN. I couldn’t eat for almost two days afterwords, but primarily because of the stench.

          And yes, I saw them kill pigs. They anesthetized the pigs before they stuck them, so they didn’t feel anything.

          But, why do you bring this up? Are you saying God is wrong?

        • I’m not saying God id wrong just YOUR interpretation of the words of the bible. People tend to do that a lot these days.

        • What part of “they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals” don’t I understand, in your mind?

        • What are you talking about, DBM? That makes no sense. He is quoting a passage from the Bible that specifically subjugates animals to man. How in the hell do you see that as “elevating animals to the level of humans?” It’s the exact opposite…

        • No Rich I don’t like to troll you. Least you forget we agree on more things than we disagree on. I do disagree with pacifism because bad guy love to enslave the weak. Look no further than Neville Chamberlin and all of the pacifists in the US that ended up causing the needless deaths of about 100,000,000 world wide and resulted in the development of the Atomic Bomb. Sometimes you have to quit turning the other cheek and punch the bully in the mouth. And you should be thanking me and others like me for protecting you and your luxury of being free enough to be a pacifist. In most countries of the world pacifists tend to become slaves.

          BTW I know that neither you or matt are a religious people and I’m perfectly OK with that. But people like you love to miss read the bible and re interpret it to fit your agenda. You really demean yourself when you do it.

        • Hitler did but how mant millions of people had to die needlessly because the bully wasnt dealt with early,

        • Matt you have to read his posts in the contexts he right. Rich is not a stupid man but he does enjoy being controversial.

        • Well, I guess if believing that freedom is better than slavery, and supporting, upholding, and defending the Constitution, is “controversial,” then guilty as charged.

          At least I’m not a bloodthirsty warmonger.

        • No it means youre the guy that hides behind guys like me when we have to defend freedom. Then after the dirty work is done you come out of hiding and claim moral superiority over me.

        • “No it means youre the guy that hides behind guys like me when we have to defend freedom. ”

          Yup. I’ve acquired a personal troll. Whoopee-dee!

        • Don’t flatter yourself. You’ve just greatly exaggerated the level of intimacy of our internet relationship. You just don’t like people who disagree with you.

        • Good point Matt but I truly don’t care if people disagree with me as when all people do agree people like hitler and stalin tend to emerge. And heaven forbid sometimes I’m wrong and it takes me a few days to process and accept it:-)

    • Get real. You whine because you can’t stand the thought of soldiers lives being saved. If you really believed that drivel you would be campaigning to stop the ritual slaughter of animals by jews and muslims. Think of the white hot feeling of a blade slitting for throat and then being fully aware of drowning in your own blood as it fills your lungs …..

      While your at it go find out where your food comes from.

    • The animals in question are anesthetized. That renders your entire argument invalid.

      As DBM noted, there are other cultures where it is completely normal to slit the throat of a completely conscious animal and let it bleed out, gasping and choking on its own blood. Cry me a river.

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