For Immediate Release:
July 15, 2021
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – As Cobra Gold military exercises begin in Thailand this week for multiple nations and the U.S. Marine Corps, PETA submitted a complaint today to Vice Adm. John V. Fuller, naval inspector general, alleging that Cobra Gold’s so-called “survival” drills on live animals—the annual frat-like party masquerading as training—that are part of the month-long event violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The Marine Corps is part of the U.S. Department of the Navy.
During Cobra Gold 2020, U.S. Marines and instructors were recorded killing chickens with their bare hands, skinning and eating live geckos, consuming live scorpions and tarantulas, decapitating cobras and drinking their blood, and otherwise reveling in the ritualistic killing and consumption of animals. PETA notes that since these acts would violate U.S. cruelty-to-animals laws, they “bring discredit upon the armed forces” and senior commissioned officers who order troops to engage in them have participated in “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.” These are all in violation of the UCMJ.
“The Marine Corps’ reputation takes a hit every time someone shows a photo of a Marine sucking down cobra blood,” says PETA veterinarian and Air Force veteran Ingrid Taylor. “PETA is calling on the Office of the Naval Inspector General to end the use of animals in this gruesome frat party–like event and reprimand any senior officer who orders Marines to throw decency aside in favor of bloodlust.”
The Marine Corps promotes these Cobra Gold exercises in some instances as training in food procurement and, in other instances, as a comradery-building exercise—both of which can be achieved through tried-and-true, animal-free activities.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group previously filed a petition for rulemaking, available here, to end the use of animals in Cobra Gold. For more information, please visit PETA.org; follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram; or click here.