Researchers to study avalanches by burying live pigs in snow

Saw this article over on discovery.com today. Snippet below, click here to read in it’s entirety.

The use of live animals in scientific research has long been a testy subject (right out the gate with a pun, hm?), but ongoing experiments on lab mice don’t seem to grab too many headlines anymore. No, it takes a particularly controversial or cruel-seeming experiment to get animal rights activists into the papers these days.

Take for instance, the most recent study that’s stirring the ire of animal lovers everywhere: European researchers have planned an experiment in which 29 live pigs are to be buried under snow, and where they will essentially be observed dying. The experiment was set to begin last week, but has been postponed due to a firestorm of protest.

The study was an attempt to determine what factors make it possible for humans to “survive an avalanche in an air pocket until rescued without suffering permanent brain damage,” according to the Canadian Press. The researcher’s goal is to better understand how exactly air pockets are used to aid in survival, and in the long run, be able to present better guidelines on how people can survive avalanches.

While I’m not a scientist, and without knowing exactly what they are hoping to learn, I’ll say their methodology sounds odd – I mean hell, I’m not typically anesthesized/sedated when riding, and I’m guessing they aren’t going to layer the pigs up before burying them. However, if sacrificing pigs leads to saving human lives I’m all for it. Guess that makes me just another heartless bacon lover in the eyes of PETA.

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