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Homeland Creator Raff Joins Pig Shooting Row

The creator of hit TV show Homeland has weighed in to a row about live pigs being shot and wounded for British Army training exercises.

Gideon Raff, the ex-Israeli paratrooper behind the espionage thriller, has called on the Ministry of Defence to switch to more "humane and effective" practices.

The MoD last month said it supported sending Army surgeons to take part in the medical drills, claiming they helped save lives on the battlefield.

Formerly known as "Operation Danish Bacon", the training sees pigs shot with rifles and then operated on during a course provided in Nato facilities in Jaegerspris in Denmark.

Mr Raff said in a letter addressed directly to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond that he was joining a campaign against the practice by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

"Caring for the wellbeing of animals and preparing the troops serving our countries are not mutually exclusive," he writes.

"In this case, sparing animals' pain and death in training drills means that military personnel receive better medical training and ultimately better care if they are wounded on the battlefield."

The MoD has previously argued that by participating in the Danish exercises rather than replicating them in the UK, they were minimising the number of animals involved.

But in his letter, Mr Raff backed Peta's call for the use of lifelike dolls that "breathe" and "bleed" to replace live animals.

He writes: "Recent research by trauma surgeons with the Israeli Defence Forces Medical Corps found that military staff's confidence in performing lifesaving battlefield medical procedures increased when they were trained with sophisticated human simulators and after having experience with real patients - but not after completing crude animal laboratories."

Homeland, which counts President Barack Obama among its fans, won the Golden Globe for Best TV Drama Series and the Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series this year.

Mr Raff himself also won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing, while British actor Damian Lewis received one for his role as lead character Sergeant Nick Brody.