Another Reason Rabbits Should Avoid Foxholes

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The U.S. military has handily defeated Yugoslavia and Iraq, but it may have more trouble in its p.r. battle against animal-rights activists. They're protesting the Pentagon's procurement of rabbits for troops to kill and eat as part of soldiers' survival training. Service members trapped behind enemy lines may have to live for days on the run, and the ability to find food can be critical to their survival, defense officials say. That's why the Air Force routinely orders hundreds of five-pound rabbits ("any color... any breed," according to a purchase request) for $7 each. Instructional aids for the survival course include a "club to kill animal."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, based in Norfolk, Va., says many rabbits die "a slow and agonizing death after being bludgeoned." A starving soldier, PETA says, ought to be able to kill for food by other means. And they do. Troops also are taught how to dine on snakes ("Use care when skinning"), turtles ("can be boiled or roasted") and chicken ("kill a fowl either by cutting its head off or by placing its head under a strong stick, placing both your feet on either end of the stick while grasping the bird's body...and pulling vigorously until its head is pulled off"). Bon appétit.