Purple Poppies for Remembrance Sunday - "Animals in War"
Animal Aid, a popular Tonbridge-based charity in the UK, has been distributing purple poppies for Rememberance Sunday since 2007 to commemorate the thousands of animals killed in wars.
Despite the British mainstream media every year conforming to the 'red poppy (one-poppy-fits-all) with a few exceptions when comedian Frankie Boyle wore a white 'never again' poppy on ITV's Jonathan Ross Show in November 2012, few people are being seen with purple poppies on national television, despite the UK renowned as being a nation of animal lovers there is general ignorance amongst the public, that a purple poppy even exists.
In war, animals have been used as messengers, for detection, scouting and rescue, as beasts of burden and on the front line. In more recent times, the armed forces have trained dolphins and seals to detect both mines and intruders below the waves.
According to AnimalAid's leaflet, 'Animals: The Hidden Victims of War' thousands of cavalry horses were abandoned by the army after World War I or were sold only to collapse through overwork and old age at their new homes.
In 1945, a dog called 'Silver' who had been trained in mine detection was killed by a hand grenade. Over 7,000 people offered their dogs to the army during WW1 but many animals were shot or euthanised if they were 'useless'.
In London they have a monument devoted to 'Animals of War' .
Animal Aid's purple poppy is made of felt, its proceeds go towards animal welfare. Each poppy is £1.50. They recommend that the poppy be worn alongside the poppy of your choice. They can be contacted on Twitter @animalaid and on Facebook.