VET’S VIEW: Remember the animal casualties of war

REMEMBRANCE Sunday helps us reflect how lucky we are, paying our respects to those brave heroes who fought for us in every bloody battle, conflict, and terrible war.

But who considers those poor animals that helped bring us peace? For example, just before the Second World War, a Government pamphlet led to a massive cull of British pets – three-quarters of a million in the first week alone to be precise.

In 1939, the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) told owners to either take their pets into the countryside or ‘have them destroyed’, persuading the public that euthanising family pets was both patriotic and humane, resulting in more food rations for humans.

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London Zoo was also decimated. Black widow spiders and poisonous snakes were killed, as were a manatee, fruit bats, crocodiles, alligators, and a pair of lion cubs.

However, while some animals were killed, others were being drafted into war, as the Army encouraged families to give up their beloved pets to send overseas into combat.

Elephants, dogs, cats, and pigeons, all helped in the war, with millions paying the ultimate price.

So, this Sunday, please think about them, and when you’re next in London visit the Animals in War Memorial in Park Lane, remembering all the four-legged and winged soldiers that served and died alongside British forces in wars and campaigns.

Their contribution must never be forgotten. They didn’t volunteer. They had no choice.