Each year, members of the Canadian military travel to Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) in Suffield, Alberta, to participate in a cruel "live agent training" drill in which live pigs are exposed to toxic chemical weapons such as sarin and mustard agents. Pigs subjected to this crude exercise suffer from seizures, irregular heartbeats, difficulty breathing, and bleeding and can even die.
Instead of tormenting animals, other military and civilian training programs around the world now use modern non-animal methods such as lifelike human patient simulators, which—unlike crude procedures on pigs—can be programmed to mimic the human response to a chemical-weapon attack.
In 2011, following a PETA campaign, the U.S. Army replaced the use of animals in its chemical warfare training program, stating that its switch to superior human simulators "was made possible by improved technology, the development of alternative training methods, shifting chemical threat environments, and changes in the medical competencies required of first responders during a chemical incident." Similarly, doctors working with the Israel Defense Forces have developed an effective chemical attack preparedness course that uses only sophisticated human simulators, noting that, "An animal laboratory session is viewed as unacceptable."
Because valid simulators exist and are being used worldwide, DRDC's poisoning of pigs—in addition to being extremely cruel and ineffective—clearly violates Canadian animal welfare guidelines that require that alternatives to the use of animals be used when available.