Animal Activists Stop Cruel Pig Experiment in Austria

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Animal Activists Stop Cruel Pig Experiment in Austria

By Sharon Seltzer on Care2.com
January 2010

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.