On the Hundredth Anniversary of the Start of World War I, Remembering the Part Animals Played

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tags: WW I



The sacrifice of the nearly ten million men who died from 1914 to 1918 will always remain the focus of our remembrance. But on the eve of the hundredth anniversary of World War I, we can also reflect on the fact that animals played a big part—and paid a high price. Indeed, throughout history no other conflict has seen as many animals deployed as the "war to end all wars."

The film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's 1982 novel War Horse vividly captured the plight of horses. "Eight million horses died on all sides in the First World War," says Jilly Cooper, author of Animals in War and the moving force behind the memorial in Park Lane.

"They died in battle and shellfire but also from exposure and disease. They were so hungry they ate their rugs and died choking on the buckles. Many drowned in the mud."




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