News, Op-Eds

The Animals of Warfare

I read just yesterday that the first ever national monument dedicated to the service of dogs in the military was finally built. While I wanted to save all animal rights articles for December, I supposed now was as good a time as any to talk about the subject.

Since the invention of war, mankind has used every available resource for the purpose of destroying every other available resource. Unfortunately, manpower is often short and thus the unwilling enlistment of other species has become necessary. It disgusts me that such a practice would be done; to drag others into our own pathetic fights over territory and “honor.” Despite this, you could very well make the argument that some things would never have been won if it not for the use of animals, as with the American Revolution, which surely would have fallen quickly had horses not helped the colonial revolutionaries during the Midnight Ride and all subsequent battles.

But in our modern day era, you would think technology would have outweighed the use of animals, yet that simply isn’t the case. Vehicles might have replaced horses, but dogs and dolphins are still used on a daily basis. From what I’ve read, about 2,700 dogs serve in the military, with 600 of them in war zones.

Some tell me that animals serving in the military should be viewed as an important factor in animal rights arguments as it adds a responsibility that persons have to their country. Now that is true, but there are two things that you’re forgetting:

  • Dogs and other war animals aren’t recognized as soldiers by the United States government, just commodities. Until Bill Clinton allowed handlers to adopt their dogs in 2000, dogs were often left in the warzone after the conflict, with Vietnam boasting over 2,700.
  • They are drafted without permission. If animals were recruited into the military during such draft drives that often cause controversy among young Americans, then I wouldn’t have a problem. But the fact that you see some bred for this life-threatening duty makes this yet another branch on the tree of human exploitation of other species.

I’m well aware of the fact that human lives are saved because of the service these unknowing patriots do for us, but so long as their lives are put at risk, I don’t care. Friends and outsiders often ask me why I value animal lives more than human lives, and I tell them I don’t, I just choose to see them as equal.

My point is this: if you’re willing to accept that animals indeed are near-equal members of society with humans, then by all means I’ll tolerate their military service. If you choose to treat them as nothing more than another resource to be exhausted by the war effort, then I’m telling you right now to stop the speciest thinking that’s plaguing the world right now, because the minute LGBT members surpass all prejudices, non-human animals are next on the list of civil rights.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that this memorial was built. It’s just sad that it’s taken over 96 years to be realized.

About Red Stewart

Big liberal and gamer.



  1. Pingback: A Glimmer of Hope: Ozone Layer set to Restore Itself | Young Progressive Voices - December 21, 2013

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