Researchers Shoot Live Pigs in Blood-Spatter Study As you can imagine, PETA is not pleased By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Sep 16, 2015 8:47 AM CDT 54 comments Comments (Associated Press) (Newser) – PETA has a new target: New Zealand researchers who secured live pigs to a surgical table and shot them in the head with a pistol as part of a study on blood-spatter patterns. The government-funded Institute of Environmental Science and Research said the pigs were sedated and treated humanely, and the scientists said their analysis is important in understanding human shooting deaths and could help in criminal cases. The study, published in July in the International Journal of Legal Medicine, involved researchers from the institute as well as two public New Zealand universities. It describes how five live pigs (as well as several slaughtered ones, per the study) were shot from close range with a Glock semi-automatic handgun to record the back-spatter of blood, bone, and brain material. "A small amount of backspattered material was produced with all targets," the researchers wrote. "Our model provides an understanding of the phenomenon of backspatter and the physical mechanisms associated with it." PETA said the experiment was unnecessary because pigs are fundamentally different from humans and better results could be achieved using mannequins or computer modeling. The GM responsible for forensic science activities at the institute countered that it uses models and simulations wherever possible, but that in this particular experiment could not get the results it needed any other way. "It goes to the ability to provide reliable ... evidence in a court case," said Keith Bedford. "It may be critical in protecting someone's liberty."