The animal victims of the first world war are a stain on our conscience
They are the truly forgotten dead. Sixteen million animals “served” in the first world war – and the RSPCA estimates that 484,143 horses, mules, camels and bullocks were killed in British service between 1914 and 1918. Some died before they reached the western front: of 94,000 horses sent from North America in 1917, 2,700 drowned when their vessels were sunk by submarines. Trench dogs hunted for rats in the trenches. Others carried messages. The German army alone employed 30,000 dogs.