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-- http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk --
"Our Basra soldiers bite heads off live chickens"
CHEERED on by baying soldiers, a British Army officer BITES the head off a live chicken in a sickening training exercise filmed by his own men.
Shamefully the senior lieutenant serving in Iraq then KICKS its wildly-flailing body, spits out the head, and shouts “f***er” at the dying bird.
In the exclusive video footage obtained by the News of the World, the pathetic creature is seen seconds later still flapping pitifully in its death throes.
Minutes earlier ANOTHER high-ranking soldier, a sergeant major responsible for discipline amongst the soldiers, had also performed the gruesome stunt to the perverse delight of the men he controls.
Holding the struggling hen by the feet and neck, the Warrant Officer Class 2 puts its head in his mouth and, tearing violently with his teeth, rips it off.
After spitting twice to clear his mouth of blood and feathers he gives a wry smile to the camera as a comrade calls for: “A round of applause.”
When we contacted the Ministry of Defence, they said: “The incidents shown in the videos were part of an exercise in survival training.”
But the RSPCA was furious when we showed them the film. A spokesman said they would press the MoD and question the Army’s training methods, adding: “It’s a revolting way to treat any animal.”
You can make up your own mind by viewing our videos but be warned: The images are not for the faint-hearted.
The shocking footage is the second video scandal to hit the Army in eight days. Just last Sunday, we unveiled an exclusive video of Prince Harry making racist comments. The story dominated the news for days.
The latest video was made in late October in northern Basra. It shows infantry soldiers from 2nd Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment—known as The Poachers. It is believed the group of around 15 men from B-Company, based at a forward operating base in Al-Qurnah, were being instructed in killing chickens for cooking.
Gathered round a wooden table, they can be seen plucking and preparing the carcass of a dead bird. It is not known how it was killed.
Then the sergeant major picks up a chicken and, to cheers from his troops, decapitates it with his teeth.
Next it is the turn of the lieutenant, one of the most senior officers at the base. Clearly aware he is being filmed, he too is goaded to copy the macabre feat. A solider can be heard saying: “Right, we’re all ready boss.”
The sergeant major, fresh from his kill, offers the advice: “ Bite and pull straight away.” And the young lieutenant puts his mouth round the bird’s head before killing it.
A military source claims the incident horrified Iraqi troops being trained by the Poachers, who have since left Iraq.
The source said: “The whole point of the training is that we show the Iraqis how to behave. The Iraqi soldiers look up to the Brits—but in this case they were disgusted, and walked away.
“Most people will be sickened by what they are doing here.
“Ok, some people might say these chickens were going to get their necks wrung anyway, and we train our boys to be hardened killers.
“But that’s the point. We put these boys in some very difficult situations. They need to know what behaviour is correct, and what oversteps the line.”
An Army insider said: “This wasn't done for sport or entertainment —despite how it looks.
“Food and water, along with warmth, is vital to survival and the ability to live off the land is key to all this. We do not do this for fun.”
An MoD spokesman said: “In addition to British troops, the exercise involved local forces, and the birds were prepared and eaten in accordance with local custom. The Army does not tolerate inappropriate behaviour, and does not condone needless cruelty to animals.”
But RSPCA spokesman Andy Robbins said: “This footage sends out the wrong message about the respect animals deserve. We intend to contact the MoD to find out more about the methods they use when training soldiers.”
-- 18/01/2009 --
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