Cobra Gold Training Drill Torments Live Animals, Prompts PETA to Demand Change

PETA has fired off a letter to the U.S. Marine Corps commandant urging an end to barbaric animal exploitation for "survival training."

For Immediate Release:
March 5, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – Following the release of horrifying photos showing U.S. Marines at the annual Cobra Gold training event in Thailand drinking the blood of decapitated cobras, eating live scorpions and skinned geckos, and even killing chickens with their bare hands, PETA rushed a letter to the commandant of the Marine Corps urging him to end the exercises involving animals immediately.

“The photos showing giddy Marines swallowing scorpions and guzzling cobra blood are more reminiscent of a frat party gone wrong than a military drill,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on the Marine Corps to take immediate action to replace this barbaric exploitation of animals with cutting-edge, technology-based survival training courses that will better prepare troops.”

PETA notes that there are more effective non-animal training options, including interactive video games with food procurement components, virtual reality methods that survival experts use to train Air Force pilots, and instructional books and videos authored by experts who have trained U.S. Army Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) instructors.

In 2011, the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center suspended its use of live animals in its survival training courses following discussions with PETA. And nearly three decades ago, the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground canceled a survival skills training course using animals after PETA asked then–Defense Secretary Les Aspin to intervene.

The group’s letter to Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, is available here. For more information, please visit or click here.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind