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Govt Lab Stops Shooting Live Pigs in Crime-Scene Experiments


Experimenters Shot Live Pigs in the Head for Crude Bloodstain Studies

Auckland – After hearing from PETA US, New Zealand's Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) announced that it won't continue its crude and cruel crime-scene experiments in which live pigs are tied down to a table and shot in the head with a semi-automatic pistol, in some cases repeatedly, just to examine blood-spatter patterns. PETA US is now calling on the University of Auckland and the University of Otago – which collaborated on the federally funded experiments – to join ESR and end the use of live animals in bloodstain-pattern experiments. A recent publication by the experimenters contained disturbing images of live pigs being shot at close range.

In its letters, PETA US criticised the experiments' cruelty to animals and inapplicability to humans, pointing out that even the authors of the paper wrote, "[T]here are anatomical differences between humans and animals that cannot be ignored". PETA US noted that sophisticated manikins and computer modelling can better simulate the effects of gunshot wounds and provide researchers with more human-relevant data to help solve crimes.

"Shooting a living being to watch blood spatter is appalling, indefensible and just bad science", says Justin Goodman, director of PETA US' Laboratory Investigations Department. "PETA US is calling on the universities to stop shooting defenceless pigs in the face and exclusively use advanced, reliable non-animal forensic research methods."

A recent analysis published by researchers at the University of Milan in Italy concluded that "the history of forensic sciences has provided us with much evidence of the inapplicability of data obtained from studies performed on animal models" and suggests that "one should question if animal experimentation is necessary or acceptable at all" in forensic research.

PETA US' letters are available upon request. For more information on the universities' involvement in the blood-spatter tests, please visit PETA.org.au.

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