People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is objecting to a video showing U.S. Marines eating live scorpions and drinking cobra blood and demanding vegan or virtual reality alternatives.
The video shows Marines participating in the Cobra Gold exercise co-sponsored by the U.S. and Thailand, where they are taught skills to survive in the jungle.
In the more graphic parts of the video, a trainer is shown devouring a live scorpion and helping Marines drink the blood of a snake.
"A frat party gone wrong"
PETA objected to the exercise and asked the military to pursue alternatives to the training.
"The photos showing giddy Marines swallowing scorpions and guzzling cobra blood are more reminiscent of a frat party gone wrong than a military drill," said PETA Vice President Shalin Gala in a statement released Thursday.
"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," the statement added.
The group recommended "interactive video games with food procurement components" and "virtual reality methods" instead of training involving live animals.
Reuters reported that South Korea did not participate in the annual training this year owing to the crisis surrounding the coronavirus, which some believe originated in Chinese residents eating infected bats.