Today we remember all of the soldiers who have bravely served our country, past and present, and who have lost their lives for a purpose beyond their own. Today we also remember all of the animal victims of war, who have historically been entrenched in warfare all over the world.
Let there be no mistake that the lives of animals lost to war are lives taken, not given. Humans can make a choice to sacrifice their lives for a cause or some greater purpose. Animals are not able to sacrifice themselves because they cannot comprehend why they are being forced into war by humans.
Animals used in war are beings thrust into the world of human ideals and structures. Forced into wars where their dedication is respected, but their obedience is demanded, they must serve endlessly until exhausted.
Horses (10 million of them killed in WWI alone), donkeys, mules and camels carried heavy loads of food, water, ammunition and medical supplies to men at the front. Pigeons carried messages, dogs detected land mines behind enemy lines. Canaries were used to detect poisonous gas, and cats were trained to hunt rats in the trenches. Animals were not only used for work. Dogs, cats, even monkeys, bears and lions were kept as pets and mascots to raise morale and provide comfort to humans during their war.
Animals have no interest in war. They are all being bombed, shot, trampled, hunted, and put under the pressure of loss of habitat, forced migration and interruption of their natural breeding and livelihood. Animals are often overlooked when we remember victims of war. You can wear a purple poppy in remembrance of animals that lost their lives in the war.