Researchers in China have sparked outrage after it emerged they have been using live pigs as crash test dummies.
In one case study, 15 young pigs were strapped into car seats for high-speed simulations, with seven dying as a result of the crash.
Not only were the terrified pigs subjected to the horrific conditions of the simulation, but they were reportedly also denied food and water in the hours leading up to the tests.
In the experiment, 15 pigs – between just 70 and 80 days old – were strapped in with various kinds of seat belts and subjected to high-speeds of up to 30mph, MailOnline reports.
The animals were positioned in a seat mounted on a sled before being slammed into a wall. The pigs sustained a range of injuries including bleeding, laceration, abrasion, fractures and internal bruising. Seven of the animals died.
As well as being denied food in the 24 hours before the test, the pigs were also prevented from drinking any water six hours before. Researchers said they were given an anaesthetic to reduce ‘excitement and stress’.
The researchers justified the use of immature pigs by saying their anatomic structure was ‘similar’ to that of human children. They claimed the pigs were intended to ‘mimic children of six years old’ in the International Journal of Crashworthiness.
The scientists insisted they had followed US guidelines for the use of laboratory animals and said their study had been approved by an ethics committee. However, the practice of using pigs and other animals in crash tests in the US was ended in the 1990s.
PETA spokesperson Anne Meinert told German newspaper Bild:
Letting intelligent and sensitive animals like pigs crash into walls in high-speed tests in China is simply cruel. It leads to broken bones, internal bruising, lacerations and horrible deaths.
Renate Künast of Germany’s Green party told the newspaper that companies who were genuinely interested in protecting children would use advanced crash test dummies rather than pigs.
Modern crash test dummies are highly advanced and come in all different shapes and sizes, with sensors inside the dummies able to measure forces of impact at different points. In other words, they are able to provide a far more accurate depiction of a person’s crash injuries than a pig could.
Despite this, the company admitted it had used thousands of animals – including pigs, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, rats and mice – in its laboratories in the past 10 years.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).