Just when it looks as though animal right extremists look on the verge of being pushed out of favour, along come the mad scientists.
Researchers in the Austrian Alps came up with a cracker wheeze. As part of their ‘Avalanche Research', they buried pigs alive in the snow and, well, left them to die. This being in the name of science, of course, they recorded how long it took for the little Percys to give up the ghost.
The research was only abandoned after howls of outrage from the public, but not until 10 pigs had slowly frozen to death. And for what? I know it maybe unscientific but I’d have thought that there's a settled consensus on avalanches: 1, they're rather dangerous; and 2, it's advisable to dig out anyone trapped under tons of snow as quickly as possible or they might die. The pig apparently is the closest substitute scientists can find for humans. Hence, the boffins reason, experiments on them will help people in emergency situations.
The similarities are not all they might be, of course. Pigs generally — I’m sure there’s the odd exception — do not set off into mountain ranges in the dead of winter wearing just a T-shirt and trainers ...