The vast number of animals that are used for research purposes around the world can be staggering to comprehend. Recently, it has been revealed that 1.3 million animals were killed last year in U.K. university research labs. Now, numbers have come out totaling approximately 28,000 animals killed during military research in the U.K. over the past three years, according to Mirror.

The U.K. testing methods as reported by the Mirror entail, “Pigs were dressed in body armor and blown up, monkeys were infected with deadly biological agents and guinea pigs were poisoned with nerve gas at the government’s top secret Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire.”

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Furthermore, “Defense chiefs have admitted that many of the animals suffered “substantial” pain which caused “significant or prolonged suffering” before they were killed.”

Some of these painful tests are similar to ones conducted in the United States. The military has been documented doing the same type of “trauma training” on pigs – in one instance pigs were being blown up to study the link between roadside bomb blasts and brain injury. Other U.S. military animal testing includes a study on the effects of and treatments for conventional weapons, biological and chemical warfare agents, radiation exposure, burns, infectious diseases, and combat casualty trauma and emergency care training, as reported by the New England Anti Vivisection Society. The number of animals used for military training purposes in the U.S. are not as well known.

The U.S. has even influenced the U.K.’s military animal testing operations. According to the Mirror, “The Ministry of Defense refused to say how many separate projects were in progress at Porton Down but admitted six are funded by US defense agencies.”

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Wanting to protect members of the military is a worthy goal, but does it need to involve cruelty? There are many alternative methods available including the following (from the HSUS):

  • Simulab TraumaMan
  • Medical Education Technologies, Inc. Human Patient Simulator
  • Laerdal Medical Simulation SimMan
  • Medical Education Technologies, Inc. Emergency Care Simulator
  • Medical Education Technologies, Inc. iStan

In the face of such numbers, processing the amount of animal abuse that occurs for research purposes can be difficult for us. What it comes down to is the individual suffering of an animal, and how even if there were just one animal that was mistreated and abused, it would still be a tragedy. Speak out against animal abuse, and you can become a part of the change.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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