HONOLULU (AP) — The Army says it's critical to saving the lives of wounded soldiers. Animal-rights activists call the training cruel and outdated.

Despite opposition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Army proceeded to shoot live pigs and treat their gunshot wounds in a medical trauma exercise Friday at Schofield Barracks for soldiers headed to Iraq.

Maj. Derrick Cheng, spokesman for the 25th Infantry Division, said the training was conducted as scheduled under a U.S. Department of Agriculture license and the careful supervision of veterinarians and a military Animal Care and Use Committee.

The soldiers are learning emergency lifesaving skills needed on the battlefield when there are no medics, doctors or facility nearby, he said.

PETA, however, said there are more advanced and humane options available, including high-tech human simulators.