The notorious animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), lodged a complaint against the U.S. Army after a company commander offered his subordinates $100 to hunt and kill a wild pig.
PETA contacted Col. Richard Fromm of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii about the incident via letter on Jan. 14 after receiving graphic photos of the pig’s slaughter. In the letter, PETA accused 552nd Military Police Company of illegally slaughtering a wild pig during a field exercise.
“The whistleblower stated that soldiers used a Ka-Bar knife attached to a stick to stab the pig, after which they repeatedly hit the pig’s head with an entrenching tool, sliced the pig’s throat with the Ka-Bar knife, and cut apart the pig’s body parts that were sealed in bags and later thrown into the wild,” PETA wrote.
The full letter can be viewed as a PDF alongside photographs of the dead pig. If you have the stomach for it, check it out here.
The Army actually took action long before PETA chose to publicize the incident. Capt. Jonathan Kunhn, the commanding officer of the troops involved, had asked his troops during a field exercise to kill a feral pig in exchange for $100. Though he was not serious about his request, Kunhn took full responsibility for the pig’s unlawful slaughter was reprimanded in person and in writing on October 27.
According to the Army Times, which spoke with an anonymous whistleblower who witnessed the pig’s slaughter, Kunhn was only joking about killing the pig and was surprised when his troops actually did it.
“Some soldiers went and tracked a pig, killed it with a dagger,” the whistleblower said. “It was still alive, so one of the soldiers took an e-tool and bashed it over the head a couple times to put it out of its misery.”
The whistleblower said Kuhn was surprised when he learned that some of his soldiers went through with the deed.
“He said, ‘holy shit, you guys really did kill a pig,’” the whistleblower said.
Kunhn did not actually pay anyone for killing the pig because his offer was in jest.
Wilds pigs are considered an invasive species in Hawaii, and they seldom wander onto military property. Nonetheless, the Army prohibits “uncontrolled or unscheduled outdoor recreation activities within the range complex,” so killing the wild pig was still unlawful.
To learn from this, the Army will now include warnings not to harm wildlife in training briefings.