Animal welfare organisation staff are to meet in London today (November 14) to take part in a memorial service in remembrance of the efforts of animals during wartime.
According to the RSPCA, the ceremony is set to highlight both the sacrifice of animals in wartime as well as the significant contribution of countless dogs, cats, birds and even camels in the war effort.
Throughout the First World War, for example, the roles of animals covered horses carrying heavy artillery and the wounded, to the pigeons’ efforts transferring messages between regiments. Dogs, meanwhile, were used for detecting mines while cats hunted rats and provided much-needed companionship.
More unusual animals were used too, mainly to fill the void left by working horses in Britain. Elephants and camels, for example, helped to keep the country’s industries going, and even glow worms helped troops read maps in the dark.
RSPCA chief inspectorate officer Kevin Degenhard said: “We are extremely honoured to be a part of this important service to remember the animal losses of war again this year.
“We lost 18 RSPCA officers in the First World War and five in the Second World War, and there were many more who survived, labouring through these and subsequent wars to protect horses, mules and other animals under fire.
“We have reflected this week on the human and animal pain, distress and losses caused through human conflict and we feel justifiably proud of the bravery and dedication of those people who have gone before us, defending and protecting animals.”