Skip to Main Content

Court Martial for Army Pig Shooters?

Written by PETA | August 22, 2008
wannaveg / CC

Last month, PETA broke the news about barbaric U.S. Army trauma training exercises that were being conducted at a base camp in Hawaii, in which pigs were shot with high-powered rifles. Local Army officials there are standing by their false claims that these exercises are necessary to provide soldiers with the skill to treat trauma victims on the battlefield, even though it seems to us these exercises broke Army regulations by not using available alternatives to the primitive use of animals.

I guess we can sleep well knowing that if a soldier loses his tail during a raid, some well-trained fellow soldiers, thanks to this training, may be able to reattach the necessary posterior appendage.

Given the U.S. Army’s apparent outright disregard for their own regulations and the treatment of these animals, PETA is now asking commanding officers at bases in Hawaii and Texas—where a more recent training exercise included breaking and amputating the legs of nearly 1,000 goats with tree trimmers—for a court martial over the shooting, mutilating, and killing of animals during these old-fashioned training exercises.

According to the Army’s own regulations, the Army is required to use alternatives to animals in training exercises when scientifically valid and comparable alternatives exist. And they do! The animal exercise should have been replaced with validated, state-of-the-art simulators, such as the Department of Defense’s own Combat Trauma Patient Simulator, which more realistically simulates battlefield conditions and, consequently, is considered superior to outdated animal methods. Other viable alternatives include Dr. Emad Aboud’s “living” cadaver perfusion model, Simulab Corporation’s TraumaMan system, and establishing military level one trauma centers in nearby communities in order to have trainees work with the community to take care of their city’s population.

Kathy Guillermo, director of PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, says, “The Army has regulations in place specifically to prevent this kind of cruelty to animals, but the oversight committee apparently chose to ignore them. Our soldiers deserve to be trained using the most advanced technology available—that means using human simulators.”

The U.S. Army does not train soldiers to race into battle zones to retrieve injured pigs, goats, or dogs. That would be great, but let’s face it: It’s not the government’s main agenda. Time, money, and resources could be far better spent.


Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky

Commenting is closed.
  • lynda downie says:

    I appreciate your very honest response Jay. Granted humans may have more sophisticated intellect and creativity but I don’t think these characteristics are uniquely human. Rather they are shared in varying degrees by all species. And really I doubt you’d judge importance on the basis of intellect and is a theoretical physicist more important than a devoted mother who barely passed her GED? In response to your point that humans are perpetually searching and discontented can we be certain that we are alone in this? Sometimes assumptions are made about animals simply because they don’t have the vocal apparatus to tell us what they’re thinking. Any further thoughts? rebuttals?

  • jay says:

    Lynda The most obvious differences as far as I am concerned between man and animal is intellect and creativity. I think the more subtle and more important difference is how uncomfortable man is in his own skin man’s perpetual search and uniform discontentment.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Jay It’s all in perception. Man thinks he is the most evolved and if he believes in God thinks he is created in God’s image. Animals no doubt think that man is the lowest creature on earth and if they believe in God created in Satan’s image. A nation that mistreats the weak is not highly evolved. We recognize this in foreign regimes that routinely mistreat humans. We are no better or more evolved than those regimes because we mistreat animals. The person who has the power to abuse and chooses not to do so is always greater than the person who has the power to abuse and chooses to use it.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Kurt K War IS hell including war on defenseless animals for no reason. My comment about you is based on the fact that you come across as a complete coward. You have no qualms about volunteering the lives of the most innocent and defenseless among us in situations where you would never volunteer your own. I can’t see that you would draw the line at women or children if it came down to you or them.

  • lynda downie says:

    Oops that’d be ‘atheist’. Gotta watch my spelling again.

  • lynda downie says:

    Thanks for your response Jay. Is that ‘essential’ difference based on your belief that humans are made in God’s image while animals are not? Or some other essence? It could also be argued and has been quite convincingly that from a biological perspective the earthworm or the soil is the most important because human life depends on them but they don’t depend on us for life. Humans have also been referred to as the most invasive species among other not so complimentary descriptions. As an atheisist and evolutionist I accept the position that all animals nonhuman and human are related and therefore share many common characteristics that we are not set apart but are very much a part of all nature.

  • jay says:

    Lynda I think you can defend the position that humans are more important than animals from a variety of different philosophical positions. My personal belief is that a sovereign God created all things and that he created man to rule over the earth in a responsible fashion something at which man has failed since the beginning. I believe that man has essential difference from animals which set himher apart from animals. AR groups frequently try to “humanize” animals’ intellect habits and emotions but I think there is so much that seperates us that the similarities pale in comparison. I also think that man is the only animal that doesnt “fit” his own skin which is why I believe the world is in such undeniable turmoil. From an atheist perspective I still think the only rational perspective if rationality exists outside of God is that man is more “important” than animal. If we consider ourselves to be purely evolutionary beings then our purpose is still to ensure the survival of our species first and foremost therefore considering ourselves more important admittedly only to ourselves but still in the same way that animals throughout the animal kingdom consider themselves more important than others ask the wildebeest. We may still need to “care” for other species but that has more to do with our own survival than with altruism.

  • lynda downie says:

    Jay Why do you think humans are more important than animals? Care to elaborate?

  • lynda downie says:

    Kurt K You chastise Antigone for putting words in your mouth but how is that any different than you writing that she wouldn’t give up her life for anybody. You don’t know that. So as far as assumptions go I’d say you’re pretty much even. BTW Antigone has made some very good points..still waiting for you to get them.

  • Kurt K says:

    Antigone How old are you? You say things that I would expect to hear from a 12 year old or an old hippy liberal. When you can’t make a point you just personally attack whoever you are arguing with. Since when did I ever say I wanted to kill women and children? I said if killing a pig to save the lives of soldiers women are soldiers too then I am all for it. Having said that if the Army was shooting pigs for target practice then I have a problem with it. There are other targets that move. You need to look at things practically and not so idealogically. If you think only that way you are going to end up hurting yourself or others someday. During WWII the soldiers training for the DDay invasion crawled through the guts and blood of slaughtered pigs and cattle so they were more accustomed to the sight of such carnage. War is hell!

  • John Wilmoth says:

    First off I am in the Army and have been for 8 years. I love my job and I am very proud of what we do. I am also a member of PETA and proud of this organization as well. I am currently serving in Iraq and it saddens me to hear about the Army training taking place. I know first hand how important it is to have good medical training but as the article mentions we have great life like medical training simulators we use. When my unit medics aren’t out on missions they are working in the local ER here to keep their skills sharp. Secondly the Army is a very large organization. Rolling the Army up into a heartless and cruel organization is just about as bad of a stereotype as you can come up with. I personally would appreciate it if those of you who are pointing your finger at the Army would point it at those responsible for the training. And as for the “AntiWar” people…. I assure you that nobody hates war more than most of us Soldiers. We do this so you wont have to on your front yard. We may not agree with every situation our leaders place us in but we do our jobs with pride. I would love to have world peace as much as anyone else but until then I will keep this job. Thank you PETA for brining this topic to light. I hate to see this type of thing occur when I know from experience there is other ways to accomplish the same training.

  • Tucker says:


  • Antigone1000 says:

    Jay That’s rightYOU think humans are more important than animals. I don’t and neither do the animals. Sowhat’s your point?

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Kurt K A more effective method would be to use YOU as a target since you have the same biological makeup as an enemy soldier and would present them with a more realistic injury to treat. Sowould you volunteer?? Let me guessno. But you cowardly volunteer another……My own philosophy is not to expect another to do that which I would not do myself but your philosophy seems to be “better that woman child animal suffer than me.. ” How courageous.

  • M Le says:

    When I log in with my email address on the DoD web site they state there is no record of my email. After I submit my comments by the way I believe killing animals in military training or any other way is horrible the DoD web site asks for confirmation of my email address. When I type it in their web site says I am already registered. Does anyone else have this problem? And Peter Aug 25 ’08 your comments aren’t appropriate for this web site.

  • Shannon Martel says:

    I normally do not do posts but I really feel I must reply to the arguments that have been made on the shooting of pigs to get army people training on how to help wounded solders. Has anyone thought of doing time in an ER in one of the major cities? There are are many shooting victimsgang members etc.there that they can practice on and get all the experience they need. Why hasn’t the Army thought of this? Shooting pigs? How barbaric is that. These pigs are not in the military and did not join up voluntarily.The remark about Peta volnteers exchanging places with the pigs was just plain cruelrude and shows the mentality this person has which is not much if any.All the army is doing by making soldiers shoot defenseless pigs is making them not respect life. If they can shoot innocent animals they can kill humans with no conscience at all. They are turning them into killing machines who have no respect for the lives of other species other than humans. No compassion at all. I would never want nor expect someone like that to give his life for me nor would I give my life for him either. Just my own opinion.

  • jay says:

    Antigone If I considered animals and humans to have the same rights then I would be a hypocrite. I however dont. I love animals and I think we should be responsible stewards but I think humans are more important than animals. Just to be clear I agree that using animals as target practice is unethical.

  • Kurt K says:

    If killing a few pigs to save lives in Iraq and Afganastan is what it takes then I am all for it. The military uses this becuase they have deemed it to be very useful. They are not doing this to get their rocks off they are doing it to help train medics and corpmen. The army strives to be the best and keep casualties down. If there was a more effective way to train they would use it.

  • denise says:

    I think we are all getting away from the point a little bit. That being said pigs have feelings too. All animals do big and small. Why should they be sacraficed when there are other ways of acheiving the same results. These pigs are feeling the same type of pain that we do and I dont think we would enjoy being shot with a rifle either just let them be please.

  • lynda downie says:

    That’s fair Jay. But Antigone has stated a few times that she does respect the troops.

  • Alicia says:

    My father was an Army medic during Vietnam and like many of us he was absolutely appalled to hear about this Army “training.” During his medic training all those years ago he was never made to shoot or “treat” pigs and still managed to help save lives. Why this many years later is the Army now so illequipped that they have to resort to this crude ignorant method of shooting pigs? Clearly we’ve progressed enough and especially during the past several decades?

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Jay Firefighters and police also choose to put their lives on the line but it is still their choice. Not everyone is willing or able to make that choice and it’s a huge assumption that pigs would want to lay down their lives for the “cause.” My opinion is still that the US can be penetrated by terrorists perhaps through Canada which has extremely lax border controls. The Iraq war probably serves to agitate terrorist factions rather than subdue them. I’m sure U.S. security is much tighter postSeptember 11 but you can’t put the whole country in a bubble.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Jay Did you actually read what you wrote??? “My original point was that Antigone is not prepared to sacrifice her life for others but is quite willing to accept the sacrifice from someone else.” That is EXACTLY your attitude toward animals!!! You will not give your life but expect them to give theirsand for an entirely different species no less!! What a hypocrite you have just shown yourself to be. You have also just shown how stupid your argument really is. What a great post!

  • jay says:

    Lynda My original point was that Antigone is not prepared to sacrifice her life for others but is quite willing to accept the sacrifice from someone else. I am not an American. I am not in the military. I am not prowar and I think that Bush got it wrong in Iraq. That having been said the Defense Force is vital part of the security of any state. Despite the fact that people CHOOSE that career I they nonetheless put their LIVES on the line for our safety and security. Antigone seems to take this for granted a compensated career. If that is what it has come to I think a draft is a great idea it will give is all a healthy respect for what sacrifice is. You cannot demand sacrifice especially sacrifice of one’s live and not be prepared to sacrifice something of yourself something as little as respect.

  • lynda downie says:

    Jay and Kurt K I don’t know how much more explicit Antigone could be the key word here is CHOICE which you both CHOOSE to ignore. Bill has chosen to serve in the army the pigs have not. But I doubt that any soldier would willingly choose to be deliberately critically injured to learn surgical skills that may or may not save his life. That is what is expected of the pigs.

  • Lynne says:

    I am absolutely ashamed to be a part of the same breed of animals that see no shame in the torture of other living beings for their own selfish requirements. That same animal who self proclaims to be the most intelligent on this earth and yet can’t fathom the wrong doing in the practice of unnecessary torture. I wonder how long it will be before we as human beings learn to remove our heads from up their own backsides and realise that what we should not play God with the lives of other beings using and abusing for our own insatiable needs. When other species of animals become interested in oil then let them make their own war..

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Jay I would never sing any tune that advocates cruelty to animals. If you have posted on here for any length of time you should surely have realized that. Kurt K Againyou and Bill both chose to enlist. As I said before I respect our troops but you guys need to quit expecting to be patted on the back for a career you chose and were compensated for. If anyone finds themselves in a war in these days of nodraft they have no one to blame but themselves.

  • Kurt K says:

    Antigone When I entered Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corp! However I blew out my knee in the 9th week of training one week shy of completion. Because of my injury to my knee I was physically unable to serve in the Marines however I was on my way to becoming a Marine and I was ready. Ohand btwBill has done more for you than you will ever know. The pigs not so much. Mike Q We will all judge this war differently in 5 years. You can count on that. That is if we finish the war and not leave too early like the Dems want to do!

  • jay says:

    Antigone The only reason you are so glib about Bill not having done anything for you is because you have never been in a war. You have no apreciation for your freedom which is being gaurded by these people. Had you lived in London in the WW2 I believe you would sing a different tune.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Kurt K Bill has done nothing for me in particular. He has CHOSEN a career permanent or temporary in the military for which he is compensated. If you are trying to make me feel guilty you have failed. I still side with the pigs. Ohand btwwhen did you last offer your life for the good of all mankind??

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    There is absolutely no reason the military can’t afford nonanimal surgical models. The Washington Post estimates the war in Iraq will cost over 3 trillion dollars and it’s seriously weakening the US economy. My feeling is that the Iraq war has not made the States one bit safer from terrorist attacksmost likely the opposite.

  • Kurt K says:

    Antigone though you would not give up your life for anybody except yourself if that was possible. Bill in VA would put his life on the line for you at the drop of a hat. Thanks for everything you have done for me Bill! We are all in debted to you.

  • Derek, MD says:

    Sorry but I am not a qualified Surgeon but I am a Family Physician that works several small town ER’s. That said I have had Advanced Trauma Life Support training and had the experience of going to the one site in Iowa that uses a “Trauma Man” model instead of pigs and felt no remorse as did some of my fellow residents at the time who chose the convenience of a close location that used pigs. I remember in disucssions with the course instructors in Sioux City IA for those professionals that live in the “area” that the Trauma Man was very expensive to produce and maintain given the synthetic skin etc. The cost was the ONLY reason provided as to why all sites did not use Trauma Man although the Sioux City site was hoping their work with this model would help promote its use elsewhere. I am sure the cost issue is also the ONLY real reason that pigs are utilized by our strangely frugal when convenient military.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Jay If they so CHOOSE. I respect our troops but don’t forget that they CHOSE to sign up. I did not make that choice and the pigs being killed did not make the choice to die either.

  • Coleen Tew says:

    Bill I just don’t think shooting a live animal is ethical and I didn’t appreciate Peter’s suggestion that we use Peta volunteers. I thought that was just bad taste. What have soldiers used for all these years to make their shooting skills sharp? I guess I just don’t understand why people who are not advocates of animal liberation find it neccessary to be nasty and vindictive. We aren’t harming anybody. We just don’t want any animals harmed.

  • jay says:

    Antigone You would not give your life for Bill but where you sit in your cosy appartment you expect him and people like him to give theirs for you.

  • lynda downie says:

    Bill in VA the logic of the article writer was to suggest the army use their own alternatives ie. Combat Trauma Patient Stimulator if you’d cared to actually follow the writer’s logic. One of our valued posters Derek MD a qualified surgeon has used and validated the effectiveness of alternative methods over using injured animals.

  • xXxmilitaryfreezone says:

    The fact that the army even stooped low enough to use defenseless pigs to shoot and practice first aid on is mind numbing. Why would you use animals to train army personnel to apply first aid to humans? The thought process there is clearly absent. Like the article says the military has high tech simulators put in place to properly train their personnel use it.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Well Bill in VAyou seem not to realize or actually care that the pig did not make the sacrifice willingly. I know that I would not willingly die for you and I can’t imagine any other human that would absent possibly a relative. Why would you expect that a pig should? Howeverif you do want to put forth the suggestion that the army use humans maybe those on Death Row who are going to die anyway I’ll back you 100. Let me know.

  • Bill in VA says:

    Coleen you are quick to point out the sarcasm of a response but how about the ethical integrity to point out the sarcasm of the article. Yes members of the military don’t run into combat to save a pig but they do help save humans. “The U.S. Army does not train soldiers to race into battle zones to retrieve injured pigs goats or dogs. That would be great but let’s face it It’s not the government’s main agenda. Time money and resources could be far better spent.” Using the logic of the article writer we should use humans for training because thats who the members of the military will treat with this training. It is a way to train military members to save human lives but I guess that is not what is important to some people. Oh and as a soldier I have nothing against pigs but if it will help someone keep me alive if I am shot then I appreicate the sacrifice of the pig.

  • kim allen says:

    that is ridiculous they dont need pigs to practice with rifles my husband is a marine and they dont need to use animals they can use dummies it isnt that hard to just leave the pigs alone. what did they ever do to the army….plus there are other programs to trains your men for trauma victims its called duh actors or volunteers non of these people get shot at or injured at all and they pretend to be hurt… so there is no reason to use animals its cruel and wrong

  • Coleen Tew says:

    Jeez Peter that’s a tad harsh don’t you think? At Peta we care about animals because they feel pain and fear and we as human animals should be caring for their welfare not abusing them. Why is that so difficult to understand? Would you care if they shot dogs? If so then why would you think it is okay to shoot any animal at all? Rather than negativity and sarcasm why not educate yourself about the animal protection movement?

  • Peter says:

    Perhaps the noble thing for PETA supporters to do is volunteer to substitute for the poor helpless animals in these trauma treatment exercises. The Army gets more realistic training and animal lovers get a warm fuzzy for saving animal lives. It’s a winwin for everyone!!

  • Vegeta says:

    The army doesn’t understand that when they do that not only are they killing or injuring an animal but the soldier doesn’t improve at all by doing so. It’s complete and utter nonsense. Nothing good can come of this…

  • Alan says:

    Well I guess the shooting of animals in Hawaii backs up the throwing of puppies off a cliff !!! We sertainly have a lot to be proud of in these well trained killers. Too bad the training is to kill defenseless animals !!!

  • Holly says:

    This is so bad. I’m AntiWar so this makes me hate these people even more. I know I wont give money to the Salvation Army this year. Lets forget about freedom and care about these animals!

  • Erika says:

    This is wrong! I oriniganlly protested and wrote to the army a couple months ago. What are the next steps that we can do to help? I

  • Ana says:

    Reading this makes me so depressed and despairing of humanity. The first weekend in August I visited Farm Sanctuary and spent happy moments with pigs goats sheep cows chickens et al. They were so friendly and sweet. They are also so cute to look at in such happy surroundings such beautiful faces!. I wish all of them could live this wayin peaceful joy.

  • SASHA says:


  • Meredith says:

    I am an army wife stationed here in Hawaii. I am shocked and embarrassed to be here right now with such horrible exercises going on. I have seen the wild pigs here on the island and they are absolutely adorable! I hope that something will be done to change these practices. These animals deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.