Animal Studies Bibliography

Lawrence, Elizabeth A. 1991. Animals in war: History and implications for the future. Anthrozoos 4(3): 145-153.

Humans have used animals in war throughout history, and few even today consider this practice immoral. Animals are thus forced to suffer the privations and pain of war despite their total uninvolvement with its causes, and they serve in this capacity loyally and until death, forging a strong bond with humans that was nearly always broken by the humans, not the animals. The major animal used in war is the horse, used in cavalry attacks and to carry supplies, ammunition, and wounded soldiers. Some horses receive recognition for their service and are brought back home with soldiers for loving care; most, however, are considered expendable, and those not dead are sold for (often abusive) use by other owners. Mules have also been widely used, valuable for their hardiness, calm, and stoicism (147) in ensuring the safe delivery of soldiers and ammunition over treacherous terrain. Dogs are another widely used animal, and they have been used in a variety of ways: trained to fight in battle, or as suicide dogs carrying bombs, messengers and pack animals, mine detectors, guards, trackers, pest controllers, and rescue dogs. Messenger pigeons, valuable for their homing function which we do not fully understand, have been crucial in keeping communication between fronts going. Other species used have included falcons, sea gulls, glow worms, spiders, bats, canaries, mice, cats, garden slugs, monkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, pigs, oxen, camels, reindeer, elephants, and various native animals. These species have been used for guidance in the dark, to produce strong fibers, to test the effects of radiation burns, as pack animals, to detect poison gas in the atmosphere, to deliver bombs, and to detect enemy presence, among other things. One of the most important aspects of animals' presence in wartime is the inspiration and comfort (149) soldiers have derived from them. Soldiers have reported lifted spirits from experiencing wildlife in the field (e.g. hearing bird singing along the front), from close bonds with animals they are working with, and from mascots brought from home or adopted along the way. Mascots have served to boost morale, remind soldiers of home or of country (when the animal represented the homeland, like a kangaroo for an Australian brigade), create group solidarity by wearing the group's colors and creating a friendly atmosphere among a bunch of strangers, provide a pleasant diversion, and bring good luck. Modern technology has not eliminated the use of animals. Dogs are used widely in the war on drugs and a storm of protest occurred in 1989 when Israeli troops used dogs to gas guerrilla shelters. Dolphins are now used by the navy to detect submarines, guard bases, and other tasks the nature of which we are unsure of because they are classified. There have been discussions of using insect armies in a war effort as well. These animal uses must be of special concern now because any such action may affect the ecosystem not only locally but globally (as, for example, in the poisoning of Northern reindeer from Chernobyl fallout or of penguins in Antarctica from industrial countries' pollutions). This danger is all the more reason for use to recognize the immorality of using animals in our battles. It is worthy of note that the cognitive abilities of animals that are often denied in other contexts are taken for granted in military use, where animals are used precisely because they are in many ways superior to human beings' skills. Animals used in these context show loyalty not just to humans but also to others of their own kind, making hem even more remarkable. There is considerable ambivalence toward animals in the military--they are valued but also often considered expendable. Military people have also bombed flamingo nesting areas, used killer whales for target practice, and other abusive practices, as well as using life animals for training how to deal with gunshot wounds, despite no evidence that this improves care. All of these uses of animals in the military must be reevaluated and our great debt to animals for their sacrifices in our wars must be acknowledged.



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