Animal Aid launched the purple poppy appeal in 2007 to commemorate the millions of animal victims of war, as they are rarely mentioned in remembrance ceremonies.
Strong navigation instincts and incredible stamina have made dogs and pigeons popular as battlefield messengers. Despite being a small target, many thousands of messenger pigeons have been killed. Of nearly 17,000 pigeons used in World War I, fewer than one in eight returned. And little loyalty was shown to them. In 1914 the head of the Belgian Pigeon Service burnt 2,500 pigeons alive, rather than risk them being captured and used by the enemy. Dogs were not afforded much better treatment. Training was terrifying, and many who did not make the grade were shot ‘for being useless’. In Vietnam, 5,000 dogs served with the American troops but only 150 returned home. The rest were abandoned to fend for themselves when the troops moved on.
Weapons research is another area of concern to Animal Aid. Pigs are a particularly popular choice for weapons research. In one experiment at Porton Down, ten female Large White pigs were used to test the effects of Phosgene, a highly toxic gas. The animals were anaesthetised and exposed to the gas for varying lengths of time. Most died from severe lung damage. Those who survived were euthanised at the end of the experiment. Pigs continue to be used in explosives tests. In a recent experiment 18 live pigs were anaesthetised and placed a few feet away from explosives, which were then detonated. The pigs were left to bleed until almost a third of their blood had drained from their bodies, to see how long they could then be kept alive.
Animals do not start wars, and they do not create weaponry. And yet, because humans do, they are made to suffer in war zones and laboratories across the world. At the very least, these hidden victims of war deserve to be remembered and respected. Animal Aid continues to campaign against the use of animals in warfare experiments.
What you can do:
- Order a purple poppy to commemorate animal victims of war
- Order a purple poppy enamel badge
- Order a poppy sales pack
- Sign our petition urging the government to ban warfare experiments on animals
- Order copies of our purple poppy leaflet to distribute
- Request a free copy of our booklet ‘Animals: the hidden victims of war’
- Write to your MP to protest the use of animals in warfare experiments
- Write to your local paper about the fate of animals caught up in human conflicts
- Send for Animal Aid’s free poppy action pack
Tel: 01732 364546
Write to: Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1AW
Animal Aid Hereford is a local group who formed in 2011 to raise awareness of animal rights issues in Herefordshire. They are part of the national Animal Aid charity. They have organised a variety of events such as car boot sales to raise funds and an Animal Charities Fayre. They have also worked with other local groups to organise demonstrations against visiting animal circuses, and have tried to raise awareness of issues that are important to them.