PIGS BLASTED IN WEAPONS LAB

1,000s of animals die in se­cret mil­i­tary tests

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by PA­TRICK WIL­LIAMS

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

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