What the Israeli Military Is Doing to Animals

The army apparently continues to use animals in armaments experiments without informing the public.

Eyal Tueg

“We took seven pigs and put them inside one of the trailers. I detonated the explosives. What happened after that comes back to me in nightmares. Even though we were far from the explosion, we could immediately hear horrific screams coming from inside the trailer. When we opened the door the pigs were lying there crying and screaming. The blast obviously blew them up from inside and glass that had been blown from the windows lacerated them from the outside. The walls were all full of the blood, urine and excrement of the pigs, which had been tied up. They looked at us in clear amazement ... The trailer was so filthy and smelly that it was decided to put the next batch of pigs in large plastic bags and to place them inside the trailers ...”

This description of an experiment that the Israel Defense Forces carried out to find out what would happen to creatures as a result of an explosion was published in Haaretz in March 2000 by Ronen Bergman. Sixteen years later, on May 26 of this year, Channel 2 broadcast another report on experiments conducted on animals by the defense establishment. In 2015 alone, more than 600 animals, including rats, pigs and sheep were experimented on. A week after the broadcast, the Israeli Society for the Abolition of Vivisection held a demonstration opposite the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv demanding that the information on animal experiments be disclosed.

Because the army has consistently refused to provide information on the matter, it’s impossible to know if experiments of the kinds described above are still being carried out, but since the defense establishment does examine the effects of weapons on living beings, it can be assumed that suffering and death are still an unavoidable byproduct of such experiments. Undoubtedly, the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Tziona has made extensive use of animals in experiments, which, according to past reports, have included exposure to poisons, gases and extreme heat.

The accepted justification for experiments on animals is based on the argument that it advances scientific research, which saves human lives. But anyone who is prepared to sacrifice animals, which are also conscious living beings (and no one has proposed more valid criteria for moral standing), in the furtherance of these aims cannot deny the fact that millions of animals are tortured and put to death for goals that even “pure” science, divorced from any ethical considerations, cannot justify.

Every time that anyone has penetrated the halls of the most respected laboratories in the world, it has become apparent that in the face of the disparity between “advancement of science” and the temptation to exercise unrestrained power over creatures deemed inferior, millions of animals have lost their lives.

Every one of the pigs that were cut to pieces in the army experiment were a world unto themselves. In the food industry, it has been shown that there have been pigs that managed to open their cages with their tongues, escort their young out of the cages and then turn their attention to freeing other pigs. No science, no matter how brilliant, can ever create this combination of innocence and sophistication. If the concept of a soul has meaning, that is its significance.

But from the standpoint of science, the value of this soul is negligible when it comes to extinguishing the lives of millions of animals in laboratory experiments every day. After all, a pig may know how to free itself from a cage, but it doesn’t know how to create a bomb, transported with the use of laser beams, targeted by satellite and capable of coming through a window from a distance of dozens of kilometers away. How can it be that an army that can do all this hasn’t found an alternative to cutting pigs to pieces? And if they are no longer cutting them to pieces, what are they doing to them?