Twice a year, members of the UK Defence Medical Services attend the two-day Exercise Surgical Training courses in Denmark, in which live but fully anaesthetised pigs are shot with wounds, which are then treated in real-time exercises by surgical teams, then humanely put down .
This training is essential to ensure our medical personnel are ready to carry out potentially life-saving surgery on battle casualties with serious bullet and blast wounds. We use mannequin simulators for as much surgical training as possible, but none of those currently available are sophisticated enough to replicate control of real-time internal haemorrhage from traumatic combat injury.
During each two-day course, UK surgical teams will operate on two pigs (one on each day), making a total of four per year. In each year since 2010, the numbers shot are therefore as follows:
2015 2 (as at 26 June)