PETA Demands Air Force Academy Stop Killing Cute Bunnies

USAFA Survival Meal

USAFA Survival Meal

Every summer US Air Force Academy and select ROTC cadets trudge through the forests west of USAFA conducting Combat Survival Training (CST). They’re taught basic survival skills as well as navigation and night travel, as might occur if they were on the ground in hostile territory.

As part of this training, cadets are expected to kill and eat — or “thump and muck,” as the trainers sometimes say — rabbits, which are provided by the school for that purpose [emphasis added]:

The academy program has been around since the 1960s and trains cadets how to live in the wilderness and evade enemy forces. It stems from an older Air Force Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion program that’s has been used to train flight crews since World War II.

As part of the program, cadets are trained to kill and cook their own food under primitive conditions.

It turns out PETA doesn’t like that [emphasis added]: 

Beating tame rabbits to death is both cruel and unnecessary,” Kathy Guillermo, PETA’s senior vice president of laboratory investigations, said in a statement. “PETA is calling on the U.S. Air Force Academy to stop killing animals and to join other military units in using humane and effective non-animal training methods.”

The thumping method in CST isn’t cruel, but it is quite necessary to prevent cruelty when the animal is cooked over the survival fire.

They’re often flavored with the tiny Tabasco sauce bottle provided in the single MRE cadets are given for their nearly two week hike in the woods.

It turns out this isn’t the first time PETA has complained.  ABC News reported on a similar complaint nearly two decades ago in 1999.  USAFA defended the practice at the time, and nothing changed.

PETA still claims this is all unnecessary:

Preparing cadets to survive in wilderness situations does not necessitate killing animals in training drills.

Said the people who never had to “survive in [combat] wilderness situations.”

PETA’s demands even caught the attention of My Life is Cadet, which made its own call for the US Air Force Academy to stop slaughtering hamsters in the dining hall.  (Get it?  The cordon bleu looks like… oh, never mind.)

So far, USAFA has ignored PETA’s demands. As they should.

As an aside, another thing often happens during CST: Cadets who take the course during June (the summer solstice) occasionally run into people in the forest practicing various forms of witchcraft — including animal sacrifice.  (The training occurs near Manitou Springs, CO, the witchcraft capital of the state.)  Haven’t heard PETA complain about that one.