PIGS BLASTED IN WEAPONS LAB
1,000s of animals die in secret military tests
THOUSANDS of animals have been killed in a topsecret military research programme.
In a series of controversial experiments, scientists blasted pigs with explosives, infected monkeys with biological weapons and poisoned guinea pigs with nerve gas.
All the tests were carried out at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down in Wiltshire.
A Freedom of Information request reveals that 73 monkeys, 27 pigs, 126 guinea pigs, 3,400 mice and 240 rats were killed in military tests in 2017.
But over the last 10 years more than 100,000 animals have died inside the weapons laboratory.
The animals killed last year were used in a variety of tests in which they were shot, blown up, gassed and poisoned with chemical and biological agents as part of the Ministry of Defence’s secret weapons research programme.
The Government maintains the tests are vital to protect troops from weapons which could be used against British forces.
But animal rights campaigners claim the experiments are unnecessary and the numbers being killed are “alarming”.
Most of the pigs were killed in explosive tests as part of a research programme to develop more effective body armour for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, where improvised explosive devices have killed hundreds of servicemen and women.
Pigs were wrapped in body armour material before being seriously injured or killed by explosives. After the tests were completed, scientists then studied the animals to assess which organs CAGED: 73 monkeys died in 2017
had been damaged and which were protected.
In other tests, monkeys were injected with anthrax or chemical agents including Sarin, while scientists recorded the levels of pain experienced by the animals and how long they took to die.
Other animals were forced to inhale mustard gas, which burns the lungs and causes huge blisters on the skin.
The animals die when their lungs fill with fluid caused by the breakdown of tissue.
The animal rights pressure group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said: “These figures are alarming and further prove the MoD is sadly behind the times by continuing cruel and wasteful experiments on animals when superior, humane research technologies exist.” The spokesman said the British armed forces were among a small minority of NATO militaries which still have staff doing trauma training drills in which live animals are shot and cut apart.
He said more than 80% of our NATO allies now opt to use non-animal methods.
He added: “Unfortunately, for animals, there are no Geneva Conventions and no peace treaties – just our mercy.” A spokesman for the MoD said: “DSTL’s purpose is to maximise the impact of science and technology for the defence and security of the UK.
“As part of this, we develop and create battle-winning technology and protection equipment for UK forces and government.
“Our role in helping protect the UK and its armed forces requires us to answer questions and develop solutions to problems that cannot currently be addressed without the use of animals in research.”
■ DOOMED: Pigs are among animals being tested