US Soldiers No Longer Drink Snake Blood In ‘Frat Party-Like’ Event, PETA Confirms
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has confirmed US soldiers no longer drink snake blood in a ‘frat party-like event’ after the animal rights group criticised the practice.
The 10-day Cobra Gold training event is held annually in Thailand and was originally designed for US and Thai troops to exchange military tactics and skills.
Now a multinational event, soldiers face jungle survival lessons using snakes, scorpions and geckos, with the prospect of drinking snake blood long considered a major highlight of the training.
Footage from past years which has been shared by PETA showed US troops drinking the blood of beheaded cobras and eating live bodies of tarantulas and scorpions, with the organisation describing the scene as being ‘more reminiscent of a frat party gone wrong than a military training drill.’
However, in an update shared this week, PETA announced not a single animal was killed in the survival training drills of this year’s event and that the drinking of snake blood has been cut from the program.
The animal rights organisation said it learned of the cancellation of the blood-drinking exercise from Amnuay Kerdkaew, the director of joint operations of the Royal Thai Air Force.
Nirali Shah, a spokesperson for PETA Asia, pointed out the training which involved animals ‘doesn’t actually deliver any survival skills’, adding: ‘In fact, the U.S. Marine Corps has admitted that the primary goal of this training is to attempt to build friendship between the two countries.’
Per Vice, Shah also noted there are other ways to build camaraderie without causing harm to animals.
After first learning about the drinking of snake blood last year, PETA protested outside the Pentagon, contacted the US Marine Corps and sent a letter to Thailand’s prime minister.
The organisation sent a letter signed by 19 military veterans to Secretary of Defense Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, reading:
Troops deserve the best training to survive in the outdoors, but Cobra Gold’s use of live animals resembles a vulgar hazing ritual and doesn’t deliver any practical survival skills.
Rather, as the U.S. Marine Corps has admitted, the main objective of the activity has been to build camaraderie …. This goal could easily be achieved through other means that don’t harm or kill animals. We urge you to end Cobra Gold’s deadly, dishonorable, and dangerous use of live animals.
PETA noted in a post on its website that the recent change in practice came after an ‘intense campaign in which PETA and thousands of supporters urged the secretary of defense and the Marine Corps commandant to end the freakish behavior of Marines participating in the annual exercise.’
It continued: ‘This should be the end of this frat-party-gone-wrong spectacle. PETA will be watching to ensure that that’s the case.’
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