Today’s [10th December] Independent is reporting that the Ministry of Defence has been outed for practising emergency surgery in Denmark on live pigs shot with high velocity rifles which make an almighty mess of their bodies.
This is called ‘Operation Danish Bacon’ and recently alternatively described as the ‘Definitive Surgical Trauma Care course’.
The Independent quotes Peta, the animal rights organisation, as saying that the practice is: ‘impossible to justify medically, ethically or educationally’.
The twice a year MoD ‘training’ is based near Copenhagen, at the Jaegerspris NATO base.
The Independent reports that the pigs are drugged, then shot by marksmen in targeted parts of their bodies; with the army surgeons tasked with trying to save their lives – with those surviving then destroyed.
The Independent’s piece headlines the involvement in protest against such actions of Gideon Raff, the writer and director of Homeland who is a former Israeli paratrooper.
Mr Raff has written to UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.
He has expressing his disgust at the practice, pointing out that ‘Caring for the well-being of animals and preparing the troops serving our countries are not mutually exclusive’.
He has also cited the experience within the Israeli Defence Force in which he served – that battlefield medics are more confident after experience with human simulators and live patients than they are after ‘crude animal laboratories’.
It has to be germane that these UK MoD activities are taking place outwith British territory. There is a question on their legal status here and there is a very big question on what the public reaction to this practice would be if it were being done on British soil.
If it becomes sufficiently widely known, that protest will emerge regardless of where the MoD are sneaking off to for this purpose.
One of the philosophical tests for the degree of civilisation of a nation is its care for animal welfare. We don’t look too good.
The very name given to this – Operation danish Bacon – betrays the degree of care for animal welfare absent within our defence establishment where, paradoxically, respect for life must be of the highest order if atrocities against enemies, prisoners and civilians are to be avoided.