Purple Poppy Campaign
Animal Aid UK started the Purple Poppy Campaign to acknowledge animals killed in war.
Animal Alliance of Canada brought the purple poppy campaign to Canada to ensure that the tens of millions of animal lives lost to war are recognized as victims and not heroes. In World War I, 8 million horses and another 8 million other animals were killed. That is one for every two human soldiers killed. This number also does not include all the wildlife that would have died and not been accounted for. Animals continue to be used in war for transport, for experimentation, for military trauma training, for reconnaissance, and for other activities.
What You Can Do
Call or meet with your Member of Parliament. Don’t know who your MP is? Click here to use your postal code through the Voter Information Service of Elections Canada. You can speak from the heart or use these Talking Points:
- Animals are used for invasive procedures including: the testing of chemical agents (such as nerve agents); the testing of biological agents; the infliction of wounds (including head injuries); and the testing of vaccines against biological warfare agents.
- Canada is one of the few countries remaining that hasn’t replaced animal use for trauma training with high quality alternatives, like TraumaMan
- Unlike the anatomy of pigs (who are used for trauma training), alternatives accurately mimic human physiology and anatomy.
- Unlike anesthetized animals, high-tech simulators can move and respond and provide the enhanced advantage of unlimited repetitions so that personnel can master skills and learn to better respond to multiple situations. That’s why alternatives to animals are used worldwide for both civilian and military training.
- In 2012, then Minister of Defence Peter MacKay and Department of National Defence officials said they’d be phasing out animal use in training. As best as we can tell, little or nothing has happened. Why?
- The Department of National Defence is putting people’s lives at risk because it refuses to use superior alternatives to animals.
Why are animals not heroes?
As we consider the loss of animal life in war, it is important that we do not label them as “heroes” of war. It is tempting to humanize their actions as acts of “bravery” or “courage”. But animals had no choice in their participation and had no comprehension of what they were being used for. Humans can make a conscious decision to partake in war (although we fully recognize that many soldiers were forced into war themselves). Animals cannot ever consciously decide to engage or abstain from war. They are thrust into it and have no control over how they will be used or when. They are victims. We condemn their use in war as part of our opposition to the suffering and violence caused by war itself.
The Purple Poppy
The purple poppy campaign is a complimentary or alternative poppy to the red poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion. It is not meant in any way to undermine or reject the red poppy and its symbolism of the human lives who served and died in war. The purple poppy is a way to recognize the significant loss of animal life that is not represented in the symbol of the red poppy. It also makes an important distinction between animals as “heroes,” which is often perpetuated by military culture, and animals as “victims.” Ideally, we will someday see the purple poppy be as synonymous with Remembrance Day as the red poppy, but in its own context.
How can I get a purple poppy?
You can order purple poppies to join us in recognizing animal victims of war. We have two options available for order, recycled metal with hemp paper buttons, or plantable seed paper buttons. Both feature the same purple poppy design. The metal buttons have a black background and the seed paper have a textured white background.
To order, please complete the form below.
Thank you for your compassion and support.
If you would like to donate to support our work raising awareness of the Animal Victims of War, you may do so here.