U.S. troops were caught on video proudly drinking blood from beheaded cobras, gutting and eating live geckos, killing chickens with their bare hands, and chomping on the live bodies of other animals while their comrades feverishly cheered them on. The gruesome scenes—more reminiscent of a fraternity hazing ritual than military training—took place during the Cobra Gold 2020 military exercise. Thousands of U.S. troops participate in the annual event held in Thailand in conjunction with the Thai military and other nations’ armed forces, ostensibly to learn how to survive when stranded in a jungle.
In 2020, PETA fired off a letter to the Marine Corps commandant as well as a letter to the then-secretary of defense, urging them to end the use of live animals during this training. In those letters, we provided numerous animal-free options for the purported survival training and pointed out that the killing and consumption of wild animals poses a dangerous threat of zoonotic diseases akin to the novel coronavirus. In 2021, we also filed a petition for rulemaking with the U.S. Department of Defense, urging it to begin regulatory proceedings to eliminate the cruel bloodlust-killing of animals in this exercise.
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