91% Drop in Animals Mutilated for Danish Military Trauma Drills; PETA Urges Full Stop

Group Escalates Campaign Calling On Denmark to Stop Apparent Violation of EU Law and to Use Realistic Human Simulators Instead of Animals

For Immediate Release:
September 24, 2020

Amanda Tumbleson 202-483-7382


This morning, PETA and PETA U.K. filed a complaint with Danish Minister of Defence Trine Bramsen—in addition to launching an online action alert—urging her to end Denmark’s deadly use of animals in military live tissue training (LTT). PETA U.K. first exposed graphic photos of these exercises in 2014 showing live pigs hung from a wooden frame and shot to inflict traumatic injuries. PETA’s strengthened campaign comes on the heels of new evidence that animal use for Danish LTT declined by more than 91% from 2016 to 2020.

Official documents show that during Danish LTT, live pigs are subjected to “war and terror-related injuries,” including gunshot wounds, blast wounds, amputation, punctured lungs, airway injuries, and eye damage.

In response to a freedom of information request, the Danish Defence Command told PETA U.K. in July 2020 that the Danish armed forces used 110 animals for LTT in 2016 compared to nine animals for this purpose in 2020. PETA Germany first contacted the ministry about ending the live-animal drills in 2011, and studies confirm the superiority of human-relevant models that nearly three-quarters of NATO allies use instead of animals.

Disturbingly, the Danish Defence Command also told PETA U.K. that “a detailed list of equipment reviewed is not available” when asked to name which specific simulation models have been evaluated so as to know whether it’s possible to eliminate animal use fully in this training.

“Using gentle pigs as disposable tools and inflicting massive injuries to mimic human war wounds is an indefensible and inferior training method,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on the Danish Ministry of Defence to cease this practice—which the U.S. Coast Guard has called ‘abhorrent’ and itself ended—and to switch to superior human-simulation technology.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—notes that sensitive, intelligent pigs have vastly different anatomy from humans, making these trainings irrelevant. Cutting-edge, high-tech human simulators that “breathe” and “bleed” are more effective, ethical, and economical.

PETA points out that EU law requires that methods not involving the use of animals be used whenever possible and that Denmark’s apparent ignorance of all available non-animal methods is not a legally permitted excuse for continuing to use animals.

The groups’ letter to Defence Minister Bramsen is available here. PETA opposes speciesism, the human-supremacist belief system that other animals exist for humans to exploit at will. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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