Animal Killing in Military Training Puts Cambodia Under Fire From PETA

Group Urges Minister of National Defence to End the Practice of Guzzling Snakes’ Blood, Eating Live Geckos, and More in Thailand Drill, Citing Pandemic Risk

Phnom Penh — Cambodia’s Cambodian military personnel are scheduled to observe the Cobra Gold 2021 joint military exercise in Thailand, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sent an urgent letter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence General Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh to urge the organizers of Cobra Gold to end the use of live animals in food procurement survival exercises.

During Cobra Gold 2020, participants were recorded killing chickens with their bare hands, skinning and eating live geckos, consuming live scorpions and tarantulas, decapitating cobras and drinking their blood, and otherwise reveling in the ritualistic killing and consumption of animals.

The exercises also pose a risk of spreading zoonotic diseases akin to COVID-19 and endanger the king cobra, a species vulnerable to extinction.

“In addition to creating a dangerous disease risk, Cobra Gold’s training exercises involving animals are both cruel and impractical,” says PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA is urging Minister Tea Banh to call for an end to the bloodlust-fueled killing of animals during Cobra Gold, which sullies the honor of Cambodia, risks public health, and endangers species who are vulnerable to extinction.”

The next Cobra Gold training exercise—which is marketed as a food procurement drill but which officials have admitted is intended to build camaraderie among troops—has reportedly been delayed until August because of COVID-19 concerns.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. PETA’s letter to Minister Tea Banh is available upon request.

For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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