1. A Freedom of Information request from The Mirror has revealed pigs are being blown up by the military as part of research into battlefield injuries.
The paper claims some of the animals have been strapped in body armour before being killed in the experiments at Porton Down military base in Wiltshire.
The research was designed to see if the pigs could be saved after suffering “severe battlefield trauma” and to test blood clotting products.
2. In 2010, 21 pigs were reportedly blown up, with 37 killed in 2011 and 57 in 2012.
Responding to the figures, a spokesperson for animal welfare group, Peta said: “The Ministry of Defence is out of step with the latest developments in education, which show unequivocally that to shoot, stab or blow up live pigs in order to train our military medics makes as much sense as conducting modern warfare with muskets.
“Vastly superior non-animal trauma training methods, including life-like human-patient simulators, are available and used by the militaries of 23 of the UK’s 27 Nato allies.
3. “The UK military’s involvement in these cruel and archaic exercises is impossible to justify medically, ethically or educationally.”
They added: “Animals do not wage war, so why should they suffer because humans do? Wars are human endeavours, but just like civilians, animals can easily become victims. For animals, there are no Geneva Conventions and no peace treaties – just our mercy. Our troops deserve the best protection, and animals deserve to be left out of human conflict.”
4. The Ministry of Defence has responded to the FOI revelations by saying the research conducted using the pigs has been vital and lead to numerous medical breakthroughs.
A spokeswoman told BuzzFeed the experiments had developed improved treatments of trauma, which had in turn saved lives in Afghanistan.
It has apparently also developed a safe treatment for botulism and helped create effective treatments for biological and chemical agents.
5. “The research we undertake saves lives by helping us develop world class protective equipment and new medical treatments that benefit both troops and civilians,” the MoD said in a statement.
“Advances in technology mean we are reducing the number of procedures carried out on pigs but there is some research, such as countering the threat posed by chemical and biological weapons that can not be conducted without the use of animals.”
The Mirror revelations came after it was also revealed the British Army was taking part in research into battlefield injuries known as Operation Danish Bacon where pigs were strung up and shot with AK47s.