LONDON, ENGLAND — Britain said on Thursday it was withdrawing from 'Exercise Danish Bacon' in which pigs are shot with high-velocity weapons to train NATO medics in messy field surgery.

Armed Forces Minister John Reid said Britain would suspend cooperation with the Danish-led operation pending a review, which is expected to take three months.

Pigs are used since their body tissues most closely resemble human flesh.

"Provision of first-class medical care for members of our armed forces that are wounded in combat is of paramount importance," Reid said in a statement.

"Nevertheless, British participation in Exercise Danish Bacon ... is of concern to me," he continued. "I therefore directed that participation in Exercise Danish Bacon should be suspended pending a review of the ministry of defence's training methods."

The NATO exercise is carried out annually but Reid only learnt of the practice this week, a defence ministry spokesman said. Britain will decline any invitation to take part in future exercises until the review is completed.

In the past, Britain has sent a small team of medics to garner experience in emergency surgery and has used the exercise to train colleagues back home, but it has never sent soldiers to shoot the pigs, the spokesman said.

The pigs are deeply anaesthetised before being shot under veterinary supervision, he added. They never regain consciousness and are put down after the surgeons have attempted to treat their wounds. Pigs are used as their body tissues most closely resemble human flesh.


This Little Piggy:
A. Tyler, This Little Piggy ..., RAW, Vol 2, #2, 1990
  The last thing every little piggy sees on the way to market.