Worldview Item of the Day
PETA is outraged because the Army apparently uses live, wounded pigs to train lifesaving techniques to soldiers preparing to depart for Afghanistan and Iraq.
A military axiom I am familiar with is “train the way you fight”. The idea is to make training as realistic as the real thing as possible so that the real thing is not a surprise, thereby increasing overall effectiveness in combat.
What PETA and animal lovers who might be upset by this practice miss is that the training the pigs provide the soldiers almost certainly provides the kind of experience that saves lives in the field. Of course, such training is traumatic—it is a live animal and the blood and gore are real. It turns out that saving the life of a wounded fellow soldier is pretty traumatic too.
What this training does is take the edge off such trauma. Soldiers who have been through such training are better prepared for what to expect and better able to react under stressful circumstances. The result is unmistakable, as more soldiers are surviving wounds that would have killed them a decade ago thanks in part to such training.
Which fact puts the PETA protest into context for me: the life of a soldier seems to be worth less than the life of a pig to them. The question of whether to conduct such training is not one of the politics of Afghanistan or Iraq, but of the value of human life. Lives saved from unnecessary suffering and death is a value measurement for any society.
I wonder what pigs saved is a measurement of.