street dogs, howling in terror were the most accurate indicator
of an impending air raid on Baghdad"
explored issues in the world of animal welfare are brought to the
foreground during periods of war.
It begins with their use in combat and search situations around
war-torn countries. Neglect, injuries and death in places such as
abandoned zoos are also a common concern - at least to those who
care about animals amongst the carnage of human war victims. In
fact, millions more animals die from the causes of war than humans.
For example, in the Afghan war during the 1990's, more than 75,000
animals were lost due to mines - that's over half of all animal
livestock in Afghanistan.
In January 2009 a report by Ashraf Helmi on the GulfNews website
showed vivid evidence of a massacre by Israeli troops at Gaza zoo.
Animals shot at pointblank range, with "no sense of reasoning"
bomb sniffer dogs are given no lasting compassionate reprieve when
they suffer injuries in war countries. For example, a black Labrador
(Hobo) suffered bad injuries to his neck, abdomen and body from
artillery shrapnel in July 2011. The dog was patched up and was
put back on "duty" to sniff out explosives just ten days
later. Ref BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14358126
there are the invisible but dramatic effects on wildlife, only realized
some time after war when the armies have moved on. Disruption of
habitats and migratory routes due to aircraft activity, bombing,
ship's sonar and general artillery fire can destroy not only pockets
of local wildlife but an entire species forever.
it be peace time or in conflict, animals are suffering horrific
deaths and injuries caused by human waged destruction.
hear of landmines causing death and severe injury to innocent people,
but animals are suffering the same fate ... In fact ten or twenty
times more animals are killed and maimed from landmines every single
Hundreds of millions of these hidden killers lay usually invisible
just underneath earth or foliage - on roadsides, paths fields and
scattered around woodlands.
People of wartorn countries are unable to plant their fields or
even walk to the clinics or visit friends. Children can't walk to
school or play in their neighbourhood.
Animals, both wild and farmed roam free across the danger areas
under the constant threat of being blown up.
the mortality rate of animals in mined areas is so high it has reduced
livestock in some countries by half. For example, In the pre "9/11"
Afghan war during the 90's, Afghans suffered a total loss of more
than 75,000 animals due to mines ... more than 50% of the total
number of livestock.
sit silent and deadly just below the surface in many countries of
the world. And in most cases no one knows exactly where these indiscriminately
strewn killers are. There are even millions of mines left over from
from World War 2. Although slightly easier to detect - because they
were made of metal - these 60 year old mines are still taking innocent
lives. Modern mines are very hard to find, made of undetectable
plastics and alloys. For example in Angola the legacy of a war,
which ended in 2002, has left nearly five million hard-to-detect
landmines indiscriminately scattered across the country.
Mkono web pages track the gruesome correlation between
animals and landmines. The informative site is dedicated to a silverback
gorilla killed by a landmine in Rwanda.
Amongst some of the incidents mentioned are eyewitness reports of
herds of cows, elephants and numerous other creatures blown to pieces
Not only are
animals inadvertent victims of landmines, but there are cases where
animals are used as "live triggers" to clear roadsides
1997 a report said that Bosnian locals were letting sheep loose
in unsafe areas as a barbaric method of exploding the mines.
In El Salvador, pigs were used to find and detonate mines. (Source:
It is reported that, "During Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq,
entire classes of boys were brought to the front as "scouts" and
sent forward over enemy minefields.
Tehran had previously used sheep, but decided even children were
to be involved in the war effort." (Source: Chelmminski,
In a report on Zimbabwe: "Many people could not return to their
villages and farms after their independence. Those who did, pushed
their cattle ahead to detonate the mines."
is dealing with "humane" landmine clearance?
There is a variety of landmine based charities dealing with various
aspects of the problem. The Halo
Trust specialize in the removal of the debris of war
and have over 4,850 mineclearers in 9 countries. Their operations
are always increasing. Adopt-A-Landmine
do a similar job and run mine action projects in 6 countries.
There is an element of contention regarding these mine clearing
organizations because in some areas they use trained sniffer dogs
to detect mines. Although one would assume that technological alternatives
must be available as a preference to using dogs, it is argued that
perhaps the low mortality rate of sniffer dogs in relation to the
many animals (and humans) saved from death and injury may justify
the dogs usefulness to save hundreds of other lives.
deaths from mines source: Project
Animals at Sea
well documented stories of dolphins being used to aid the discovery
and clearance of mines, sea mammals are dying by the hundreds even
outside of war torn areas of the world.
It has recently transpired that Naval warships are causing death
to hundreds of whales and dolphins worldwide through the use of
sonar. Spanish scientists in the Canaries found evidence showing
that mammals are dying from decompression: better known to divers
as "the Bends". The deaths are linked to underwater sonar, used
by the ships to hunt submarines. When the ships trigger the sonar,
whales and dolphins appear to become disorientated and subsequently
rise to the water surface much too quickly. Some species of whales,
known to spend a lot of time in deep sea areas, are being found
dead on beaches just hours after naval warships have carried out
sonar based manoeuvres in the immediate vicinity.
Animals in the
Line of Fire
for example, American smart bombs may have been fairly precise in
their targets, and although they may take all precautions to avoid
hitting schools, hospitals and public areas, do they also consider
zoos and other animal environments near their targets as areas to
Most of us have
heard about the atrocities that took place in Kabul Zoo in Afghanistan.
Grenades were thrown into cages, and the animals were left in misery.
Crane is globally endangered. During the American bombing runs in
Afghanistan during 2001/2 the Cranes and tens of thousands of ducks
and other birds were disturbed during their migration. Now, entire
bird populations have since gone missing across the entire Afghan
and Pakistan region, which is a major migratory route for many species.
web retreat is presented through a harmonically aligned philosophy,
a part of which describes a principle of natural foresight in human
behaviour. Therefore you'll often find comments and articles presented
as precursors to events, which ultimately play out as predicted.
case of animals suffering throughout the 2003 Iraq war is a classic
example. Frequent site visitors will be aware of such articles here
at the time warning of the potential animal problem long before
the war began. The rest of the web has sprouted pockets of media
based concern regarding these issues, such as rather irrelevant
polls as to whether animals should be used by the military or not.
All rather futile and displaced since in a way this is "closing
the barn door after the horse has bolted".
Where are these polls and petitions in peacetime? - before a major
conflict? It seems that many of these token gestures are created
by media publications who are just jumping on the compassion bandwagon.
Their polls will disappear as soon as the public loose interest,
and the war becomes a thing of the past. However the problem does
NOT go away, such as the thousands more landmines and unexploded
bombs which now litter the land of Iraq - These will be posing serious
threats not only to animals but people for many years to come.
and the media, latch on to animal suffering only when the humanitarian
issues have calmed down. In other words, after the event, when it's
usually too late for the animals. Of course, many argue that human
welfare comes before animals ... but they are just as much the victims
of suffering during a war conflict, and more to the point, the animals
continue to suffer long after... and above all, it's not their war.
For example, how can a neglected zoo animal get its food? A caged
animal can't even attempt to try to find food for itself.
Why do occupying armies not provide animal handlers, advisors and
vets as part of their war engagements? Humans cause these crazy
wars, so why create even more layers of suffering for other species
comment on the GulfNews website about the 2009 massacre at Gaza
Zoo points out the appalling conditions the animals were kept in
even prior to the attack, saying that "the animals were better off
dead" and that "animal rights would go spare". It's certainly true
that the zoo conditions looked terrible anyway, but during the aftermath
of such a grotesque action, such sanctimonious comments are inappropriate.
There is no doubt that zoos and war zones can never mix, but when
a community is trying to bring some semblance of enjoyment within
a place of high tension, they grab at whatever idea they think will
raise the community spirits. A zoo often seems to be high on the
agenda. Authorities in high war-risk areas should recognize that
an animal enclosure is not the answer, because every time fighting
hits the community, the animals always suffer ... and the resulting
aftermath brings down the community spirit even more than ever.
any war activity, surely imminent action should be "legally" taken
to at least ensure the welfare of caged animals. How about an International
law (i.e. an extension of the Geneva convention) which would state
that all caged animals at risk of suffering through impending war
activity should be removed to safe areas, where they can be looked
after throughout the conflict? ... (now that's a petition we should
all be signing)
on Iraq War
2005 it had become common practice for insurgents in Iraq to strap
bombs to dogs and blow them up as convoys pass by.
Donkeys pulling carts of explosives are also being used for similar
a Petition to Protect Zoo Animals in War Zones
Christopher Comer has followed up our thoughts of a petition (mentioned
above) to get the Geneva Convention extended to include the protection
of caged animals during war. You can find his petition here
... where there are also more details about the suffering of animals
in war zones.
Looking-Glass about your animals affected by war
and VeggieGlobal would like to receive information and your experiences
about animals affected by war conflicts.
Please contact us
and VeggieGlobal Gateways
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