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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Israel's 'bomb squad pigs'

By David Chazan
BBC, London

In Israel, a new weapon is being tested to try to foil bomb attacks - pigs which sniff out explosives.

Pigs
Pigs' digging habits make them ideal
While eating pork is one of the strongest taboos for Muslims and Jews alike, a young Israeli believes he has found a new use for the farmyard animal.

It is the pet project of Geva Zion, a former Israeli army dog trainer.

He believes it may be easier to train pigs than sniffer dogs.

"The pigs work and understand very quickly, maybe half of the time of the dogs.

"Dogs must be trained when they are puppies, with the pigs we don't need it, because they like to eat and they like to dig."

Religious ban

After three years of the Palestinian intifada, security is a thriving business in Israel.

Security checks are a way of life.

But because of religious taboos, Geva Zion knows it is going to be a challenge convincing Israelis to employ sniffer pigs.

"In Israel we say if you don't eat the pigs there's no problem, so this is my hope.

"Maybe it can succeed even in Israel, [but] in Muslim, countries I don't think so."

Given those obstacles, Geva Zion says he hopes to market the pigs' services to countries plagued by leftover mines in Africa and the Balkans.


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