Animal rights campaigners have filed a petition to stop grisly military drills where US marines eat live geckos and drink snake blood.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said that US Marines’ gruesome exercises also “pose a zoonotic disease threat akin to Covid-19” and are also endangering the king cobra.
The drill has been carried out every year in Thailand since 1982.
During their training, soldiers learn what to do if they become separated from their troops and what plants or animals are safe for consumption.
As part of the drills involving Thai and US soldiers, marines must cut off the heads of snakes and drink their blood. The exercises also teach them how to peel the skin from geckos before they eat them raw.
PETA’s petition is now urging the new Secretary of Defense Gen. Lloyd J. Austin to prioritize ending the grisly exercises.
“A Girl Scout could figure out how to survive in a jungle without killing animals for practice, and so, too, should our military’s best and brightest,” PETA Vice President Shalin Gala said.
“PETA is calling on the Pentagon to do away with the bloodlust killing of animals during Cobra Gold, which sullies the honour of the Marines, risks public health, and endangers species that are vulnerable to extinction.”
The animal rights group also claim that the drill “poses a dangerous zoonotic disease threat akin to the novel coronavirus.”
The group said that the Cobra Gold training had been delayed because of concerns from Covid-19.
One person commented: “Do what you have to to survive, but is skinning gecko’s and eating them alive really something you do to survive? That’s just cruel.”
Another wrote: “Soldiers deserve to have the very best training available. Surely this isn’t it.”
A third added: “These drills are not only extremely cruel, they are an extreme disease risk. Troops and animals deserve better.”
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