PETA is demanding Marines stop 'swallowing scorpions and guzzling cobra blood' in the jungle

U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Nicolas CholulaU.S. Marine Sgt. Etrice Sawyer a native of Miami, Fla., with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, drinks the blood of a king cobra.
  • US Marines recently took part in jungle survival training at the latest iteration of the Cobra Gold exercise, during which they ate scorpions and drank the blood of king cobras.
  • The training, led by the Marines’ Thai counterparts, is designed to teach troops how to live off the land and survive should they find themselves fighting for their lives in the jungle.
  • But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was troubled by the training and sent a letter to the Marine Corps’ top general demanding he end the “crude killing of animals.”
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US Marines have been eating scorpions and drinking cobra blood as they learn to survive in the jungle, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is not happy about it.

The animal-rights advocacy group sent a letter to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger urging him to end the “crude killing of animals.”

Royal Thai Marine Petty Officer 1st Class Pairoj Prasarnsa, Chief Jungle Survival Trainer with Marine Recon Patrol holds two Cobras in his hands during jungle survival training alongside his U.S. Marine counterpartsU.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Nicolas CholulaRoyal Thai Marine Petty Officer 1st Class Pairoj Prasarnsa, Chief Jungle Survival Trainer with Marine Recon Patrol holds two Cobras in his hands during jungle survival training alongside his U.S. Marine counterparts

As part of the Cobra Gold exercise held annually in Thailand, Marines go through jungle survival training. The Marines learn basic skills such as which plants and animals are dangerous and which are safe to eat and drink, among other things.

The US military recently released photos of the training, as it does every year, showing troops eating scorpions and drinking cobra blood – alternatives for nourishment when the preferred options are unavailable.

The training is designed to ensure that Marines that find themselves fighting for their lives in the jungle, potentially cut off from the rest of the force, could survive off what is available in nature.

PETA expressed concern that Marines were “drinking the blood of decapitated cobras, eating live scorpions and skinned geckos, and even killing chickens with their bare hands.”

The organisation’s vice president, Shalin Gala, said that the training event depicted in the photos is “more reminiscent of a frat party gone wrong than a military drill.”

U.S. Marines with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, drink the blood of a king cobraU.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Hannah HallU.S. Marines with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, drink the blood of a king cobra.

“PETA is calling on the Marine Corps to take immediate action to replace this barbaric exploitation of animals with cutting-edge, technology-based survival training courses that will better prepare troops,” Gala added.

PETA urged Berger to look into alternatives such as virtual reality and highlighted “vegan options” for surviving in the jungle, citing a recent Daily Mail report that noted that the jungle is “rich in fruit and other lush, edible vegetation.”

In the letter to Berger, Gala argued that both the Army Dugway Proving Ground and the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Centre ended their use of live animals in survival training.

“Clearly, there are precedents for troops to learn food procurement survival skills without having to use live animals in abhorrent training drills,” the letter reads.

The annual jungle survival training at Cobra Gold and the practices PETA aims to end have been ongoing for many years now. This year marks the 39th iteration of the 10-day Cobra Gold exercise.

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