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Animal wreath shouldn't be laid at Truro Remembrance memorial – RBL chair

By West Briton  |  Posted: October 27, 2012

  • Sana Burton, left, stops to get a purple poppy from Nita Smith, Chris Rylatt and Barney the dog of Animal Aid, on Pydar Street in Truro. Inset: Christopher Jackson.

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THE organiser of Truro's Remembrance ceremony has criticised animal rights activists wanting to lay a wreath at the city's war memorial to commemorate creatures lost in combat.

RBL's county officers gave members of Animal Aid in Cornwall permission to lay a wreath following its Remembrance Sunday Parade on November 11.

But chairman of RBL's Truro branch, Christopher Jackson, said while it recognised animals had service numbers and even ranks, the memorial marks personnel who died, not animals.

He feared the laying of Animal Aid's purple wreath could offend families who have lost relatives in combat.

He said: "The war memorial was built to the memory of men and women who gave their lives for this country. Nowhere does it mention any animals.

"I am concerned that laying a wreath of purple poppies will detract from their memory."

Mr Jackson, who has been organising the parade since July, said noone from the campaign group contacted him personally to discuss the laying of a wreath.

He added: "I do not know of any animals born, raised and trained in Cornwall or in the surrounds of Truro that have died in combat so laying a wreath to their memory is not really applicable."

In a statement to the West Briton, the county RBL branch said: "We welcome all other groups, such as those marking the animal cost of conflict, to lay their wreathes in remembrance following the official ceremony or service."

Chris Rylatt, from Newquay, said he will be "honoured" to place a purple wreath for Animal Aid.

His wife Debbie, who will attend the ceremony wearing purple and red poppies, said she was "saddened that people may be offended".

"Remembrance Sunday is a day to mark all lives lost. There is a place for animals to be remembered, they're the silent victims of war. I don't understand how anyone can be against it," she added.

While offering purple poppies in Truro last week she said people welcomed the idea, with no complaints.

"We collected more than £300. People liked the purple poppies and asked why we hadn't remembered the animals before. We are not selling them once the red Poppy Appeal gets under way, we did it just for one day and had a wonderful response."

She said children's author Michael Morpurgo's War Horse novel, stage play and film highlighted the suffering of animals in frontline conflict.

"It showed the bond between soldiers and horses and the sacrifices that have been made. Today many dogs are used to find bombs, other animals are used to test weapons."

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  • daisyray  |  November 09 2014, 5:18PM

    Mr. Jackson, have you considered that the British Army sent more than a million horses into battle in the 1914-18 war, and army veterinary surgeons often spent long winter days working with injured horses and mules near the front line, having to stand up to their knees in slippery, poisonous mud. Many other soldiers who were not medically trained were seconded to the veterinary corps to tend the casualties, but while nursing a horse back to health ought to have been fulfilling, there was little comfort in knowing that it would soon be sent back into battle. The men had a tough enough time, but still had feelings for the horses. Some of the men grew as close to the horses as to their fellow soldiers, and felt their loss as deeply. And so we wear the Purple Poppy and lay a Purple Wreath. It is a small thing that we can do to mark the horses' contribution to the British Army in WW1, and to remember the compassion, and the sorrow, of the men who cared for them.

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  • Holcroft193  |  November 05 2012, 8:49PM

    Firstly, Animal Aid are animal welfare campaigners not "Animal Rights Activists". Secondly, Animal Aid always make it clear that the purple poppy is in no way intended to overshadow the red poppy. Thirdly, I expect many service personnel who owe their lives to these animals would be disgusted by Mr Jackson's narrow-minded comments. He does the RBL no favours.

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  • cheekyman_jr  |  October 29 2012, 3:59PM

    I would have thought that rememberance day would be a personal thing, and whilst some may remember individuals, that isn't seen as a kick in the face to those that they don't remember is it? If people want to remember animals, well that's fine, it doesn't denegrate others contributions and losses as far as I can see, it just allows more people to be involved in the day (doesn't it?) and surely this is what the RBL wants?

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  • kennyf  |  October 29 2012, 2:10PM

    I live in Cornwall, and wholeheartedly admit that I love animals, but please don't shoot me down for that! I also belong to a generation of young people who are realising more and more that respect for each other, the people (and animals) who have lived and died so that we can be here today, and mutual respect for each other and the planet, are ALL inextricably linked. We have to look at it this way both now, in the past and into the future (our generation are going to be the ones fighting against problems such as rising sea levels, no fish left in the sea, catastrophic flooding and drought on a global scale). Undeniably animals will also play a part in this - think how many dogs each year discover people lost in floods/landslides/earthquakes etc. ALL should be allowed to be remembered on this day, and it is a bloomin shame if this doesn't happen.

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  • redfrog  |  October 28 2012, 11:44PM

    What could be more important than that animal who, by sacrificing its' life saved countless others? Or the animal saving lives of civilians and personnel alike by finding explosives with the power of its' nose? Who remembers the animals who kept heart and soul together while the bombs blasted overhead, or who lay by their man's side keeping him warm in the cold? I am sure many do, I am sure that love and compassion do not know the boundaries of species, and I am sure that many will find comfort in honoring the often forgotten heroes and heroines of war.

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  • barrtribe  |  October 27 2012, 11:16PM

    Hey i dont disagree that they should be remebered as i have said. my worry is that if it was a rememberance day for animals as well would the animal lovers be respectfull enough to the occasion and leave their dogs at home as they cannot gaurantee they would not disrupt the occasion. Personally I find it irritating when people start making noises before we are even 30secs into the silence.

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  • twain1  |  October 27 2012, 8:56PM

    barrtribe Remembrance Sunday is to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to give us the peace and freedoms we enjoy today. It dates from WW1 where the role of animals was vital, without horses and dogs victory would have been inconceivable. Such was the use of horses on the Western Front, that over 8 million died on all sides fighting in the war. Two and a half million horses were treated in veterinary hospitals with about two million being sufficiently cured that they could return to duty. ''He (Sailor) would work for 24 hours a day without winking. He was quiet as a lamb and as clever as a thoroughbred, but he looked like nothing on earth, so we lost him. The whole artillery battery kissed him goodbye and the drivers and gunners who fed him nearly cried." I think that not to mention the brave animals in the same breath as those that loved their companions would be an affront to the brave men and women that fought alongside, and likewise the sniffer dogs in Afghanistan for instance.

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  • barrtribe  |  October 27 2012, 6:46PM

    Twain; I agree there is an element in society that think like that but your not right in saying it is a fallacy. I know plenty of peole who think more of their animals than people. You dont have to go far to hear and see that in action. Animal charities far out strip people charities in giving and support.There are extremists in all walks of life. Once again the post is being taken off point. The posts are not anti animal, it's about remebrance and section of people who want to remember animals at the same time and others that don't. Its as simple as that.

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  • barrtribe  |  October 27 2012, 6:21PM

    As an aside, just imagine it. Your standing there and the call comes out for silence . At that point someone's little darling decides it doesn't like someone else's little darling they decide to have a fight because their mummy n daddy couldn't possibly leave them at home just for an hour. That period of quiet respect is lost. Your not going to tell me that this won't happen.

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  • twain1  |  October 27 2012, 6:11PM

    The notion that some people (those anarchists and vegans perhaps) love animals more than humans. Fallacy. Animal lovers dislike that part of 'humanity' that think it's man's right to use, abuse and discard of animals as they feel fit. It's this part of humanity we rate well below amoeba, to compare them with a loyal and loving dog would be a travesty.

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