Sharon Seltzer on Care2.com
Researchers were burying live pigs in snow in the Western Austrian Alps to find out how people die in avalanches.
Protests by animal rights groups in Austria forced scientists to stop a
series of experiments on pigs because they were deemed cruel and useless.
Researchers were burying live pigs in snow in the Western Austrian Alps to find
out how people die in avalanches.
The two-week experiment from the Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine in
Italy and the Medical University of Innsbruck intended to uncover the factors
that make it possible for people to survive an avalanche in an air pocket
without suffering brain damage.
The subjects for their experiment were pigs that had been anesthetized.
According to USA Today, some of the pigs were being completely buried and
suffocated, while others were covered up to their necks to freeze to death.
Hermann Brugger, in charge of the program told reporters - the pigs do not
suffer as they are sedated prior to the experiment. He also said, “We want to
save lives, that’s the only goal of this study.”
Johanna Stadler, director of Vier Pfoten (Four Paws) animal rights group
said, “It is absolutely unacceptable to kill these highly sensitive, helpless
animals for such a useless experiment.”
“People are shocked and outraged that such cruel experiments can even be
carried out in Austria,” said Gerda Matias, president of the International Union
of Animal Experiment Opponents.
With the help of these two animal rights organizations, plus the Austrian Association of Animal Protection – the research came to a complete stop.