blew up 119 live pigs in explosive tests
rights campaigners expressed outrage last night after the Ministry of Defence
admitted blowing up 119 live pigs in explosives tests.
MoD defended the experiments, saying they had 'saved many lives' in Afghanistan
and Iraq. They have led to improvements in body armour and the medical treatment
of soldiers injured by roadside bombs, it said.
research? Scientists blew up 119 pigs at Porton Down research centre in
Salisbury. They were investigating the effects of IEDs and explosives used
by the Taliban. But animal welfare activists criticised the 'unethical'
practice of causing 'massive mutilation and injury' to the pigs. The research
took place at the Government's secret military research laboratory Porton
Down, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, between 2006 and 2009. Official figures
reveal 25 pigs were used in improvised explosive device experiments in 2006,
19 in 2007, 40 in 2008, and 35 in 2009. The animals are anaesthetised before
breed of pigs used in the experiments have skin similar to humans.
say the tests allow them to see injuries consistent with those inflicted
by the Taliban on the battlefield and devise more effective post-traumatic
The MoD also wraps pigs in materials used to make body armour, such as Kevlar,
to determine how effective it is at reducing damage from IEDs. The British
Union for the Abolition of Vivisection said: 'Not only are such experiments
scientifically questionable... subjecting pigs to such massive mutilation
and injury also raises profound ethical questions.'
Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, has written to ministers urging
them to stop the practice. An RSPCA spokesman said the MoD was required
to carry out the tests under strict controls, but added: 'For many, such
a use of animals represents a distressing example of the price animals can
end up paying as a result of humans' inhumanity towards other humans.' An
MoD spokesman said: 'The advances made due to this research can be utilised
both in theatre and civilian scenarios, particularly if there are mass casualties
and evacuation to hospital is delayed.'
figures show more than 50,000 animals, including sheep, monkeys and cattle,
have been subject to experiments at Porton Down in the past four years,
including ones using chemical and biological weapons such as Anthrax and