The End of the Underwater Exploding Goat


oldbill.jpgFrom's headlines this morning:

The British military said Feb. 6 it will no longer use goats in experiments to gauge the risks of evacuating a submerged submarine.

The tests, conducted for years by the Ministry of Defense, involved herding the animals into a special chamber and then drastically changing the air pressure.

Defense minister Derek Twigg said the tests, which were suspended in March 2007, had provided valuable safety information to submarine crews. But a review concluded that no more experiments were needed, though the military said in a statement it could revisit the issue.

The tests were meant to simulate what sailors would experience should they need to evacuate a submerged submarine. The difference in pressure between the deep sea and the surface can cause fatal decompression sickness, often referred to as the bends.

Goats were chosen because of their physiological similarities to human beings.

Six goats died in the experiments between 2000 and November 2006, and 122 others were slaughtered afterward.

Animal rights groups complained about the tests for years, saying they were cruel and unnecessary.

QinetiQ Group PLC, which ran the tests on the government's behalf, said the tests were conducted in a facility on Britain's south coast, but declined to elaborate

No statement from the Naval Academy mascot, but we can assume that, in spite of his support of submarine safety, Bill is good with this decision.

-- Ward

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