Danish military
Danish military shooting at live pigs for trauma practice Peta

Brigitte Nielsen has appealed to Denmark's minister of defence to end the practice of stringing up live pigs, shooting them, then using them to practise trauma surgery.

The Danish actress wrote to Nicolai Wammen urging him to stop the use of live animals in military training exercises, saying it is "impossible to justify".

Nielsen, who has appeared in films including Rocky IV and Beverly Hills Cop II, penned the letter following pictures obtained by Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which showed pigs being shot at with AK-47s and handguns, then operated on.

Danish military
The animals are used for military medical training. Peta

The shocking images showed pigs being used for target practice while tied upside down on a wooden frame. After they were operated on, the animals were taken away and disposed of.

Nielsen wrote: "I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) to voice my support for a ban on the use of live animals in military trauma training exercises.

"I am a proud Dane, but like most people around the world, I was deeply shocked to learn that my country's army still uses live animals in military training exercises.

Peta appealing to Danish military to stop using animals Jorn Stjerneklar/Peta

"I find it hard to believe that Denmark continues to torture and mutilate animals when humane alternatives exist and are used by 23 other NATO nations, including 20 EU states. The choice is not between saving animals and saving human beings: life-like human simulators and other high-tech non-animal training methods have been shown to be more effective at preparing soldiers for battle than crudely mutilating animals.

"Moreover, using animals for these training exercises when alternatives exist appears to be in violation of EU law. Directive 2010/63/EU states that animals must not be used when non-animal options are available."

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Brigitte Nielsen calls for Nicolai Wammen to end "torture". Reuters

At present, over 80% of Denmark's Nato allies use non-animal methods for military trauma training. Most countries use human-patient simulators.

"Please stop making our noble military shoot, stab and mutilate animals in these exercises," Nielsen said. "Treating animals in this way is impossible to justify medically, ethically or educationally and does immense damage to Denmark's international reputation."