PETA (People for the Ethical Treatments of Animals) has recently written a letter to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Berger, to stop the “crude killing of animals during the annual Cobra Gold 2020 military exercise.” Thailand and the United States sponsor the Cobra Gold, an annual multinational military exercise. This year’s Cobra Gold exercise consists of cybersecurity, amphibious assault, combined arms live fire, and humanitarian assistance. It also encompasses jungle survival training led by Thai military instructors.
PETA in its statement to General Berger stated, “There are also vegan options too with the jungle being rich in fruit and other lush, edible vegetation.” I do not believe PETA should get involved with what the military should or should not do when it comes to training Marines how to survive in the jungle, or survive in general if they ever get behind enemy lines. Yes, it may be disturbing to cut off a cobra’s head and drink it’s blood, but when you are behind enemy lines trying to survive in the jungle with no water in sight, or no drinkable water, what other options are there? Humans are animals as well and we are at the top of the food chain. Marines learn how to survive by performing the act itself so they can have confidence and experience later on if they ever need the training. Hands-on experience will be a lot more beneficial and helpful as opposed to having a PowerPoint to Marines saying that it’s ok to drink cobra blood because I said so.
In conclusion, I believe PETA, who has killed a lot more animals in their shelters than Marines have during this training exercise, should stay out of this. At the end of the day, when you are stranded behind enemy lines and looking for something to eat, would you rather try to find a plant that is edible and won’t harm you, or would you want to find an animal that you know for sure you can eat if cooked right, or raw. Some hazardous plants can look similar to safe plants and could be a fatal error. Eating other animals, such as chopping off a cobra’s head and drinking its blood for rehydration, as well as being able to eat it, is far more valuable. Animals have meat, and meats have protein and other essential nutrients that can sustain life. You’re trying to survive and the last thing you would care about is whether or not you’re going to piss some people off for killing an animal and eating it to survive.