Animals in War - We will remember them

 

Animals Affected by War, Past and Present

Armistice Day - also known as Remembrance Day - gives us an opportunity to remember all those who gave their lives in war, and who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live the lives we do today.  It is also a chance to be thankful to all those who continue to be prepared to make that ultimate sacrifice, and to remember their families for all they do to support their loved ones and all they go through.  

One aspect of war that is not highlighted enough is the role animals play in war and how they are affected by it.

War is a terrible thing.  Humans start it and yet animals are badly affected by it.

Animals affected by war in the past

The British, Commonwealth and Allied forces enlisted millions of animals.  They were chosen for a range of their natural instincts.  Huge numbers were killed, often suffering terrible deaths from wounds, starvation, thirst, exhaustion, disease and exposure. 

Horses, mules, donkeys, dogs, pigeons, elephants, camels, oxen, bullocks, cats, rats, canaries and even glow worms... they were all affected.   And millions more wildlife are affected as fighting takes place on their territories. 

In London, there's a memorial called Animals in War, pictured right.   It has two inscriptions, the first being:

"This monument is dedicated to all the animals that served and died alongside British and Allied forces in wars and campaigns throughout time."

The second simply reads:

"They had no choice."

The Animals in War Memorial - We will remember them.

Find out more about the Animal War Memorial

Animals affected by war today

There's another group of animals affected by war.   They are in Taiz, in Yemen.

Nearly 300 animals are located at Taiz Zoo, right in the middle of the war zone.  The zoo is owned by the government which will not grant the animals an export permit.  At the moment, even if the animals given permits to leave the country, they would not be able to go - they are in the middle of a war zone and it's hard enough getting food stuffs in and out of the country, never mind animals.

Amongst the animals there are are 17 lions, one of whom is very elderly, and 30 Arabian leopards.   Arabian Leopards are exceptionally rare, so every single one is vital.  But there are also cats and dogs who have been displaced by the war and Taiz Zoo is now caring for them - there are no other rescues to do it.  In additon, the zoo has birds of prey, crocodiles, horses and other animals.

Visit A Lions' Heart facebook page for more news and info

The animals desparately need donations towards their food, water and veterinary care.  The plan is that their enclosures will be improved and the animals will have enrichment activities.  There are sanctuaries willing to take them but their leaving Yemen is in the hands of the Yemen government who show no signs of allowing that to happen, despite efforts.  Animal charities have been contacted with requests to help but they won't.  

Enter A Lions' Heart.  They are a small, US registered charity (EIN # 81-2774850) and they alone are raising funds for the animals at Taiz Zoo.   They took over from SOS Zoo and Bear Rescue.  

The hope is that one day the animals will be released to sanctuaries who are ready to take them.  In the meantime, the priority is to ensure they get enough water to drink, food to eat and veterinary care when they need it. I've been donating for some time now.  These animals need our help.  The people caring for them are doing their best in incredibly difficult and dangerous circumstances - this zoo is in the middle of a war zone so operating in Taiz will be quite different to operating in other places unaffected by war.

Please donate and/or share and spread the word.  These animals need help. You can donate via A Lions Heart's website and Paypal.  Every £1 and every $1 helps.  

Visit A Lion's Heart's website  or A Lions' Heart Facebook page here

And on Armistice Day when the two minutes silence takes place, please spare a thought for all those animals who have died in war and who have been and are today affected by it.  Let us remember them.