How many animals died in World War II

The war would be inconceivable without the massive use and exploitation of animals, be it for transport and communication, be it as food or as emotional support, whereby roles could change.

The most common and most important farm animal in all theaters of war was the horse. According to estimates, over 18 million horses were used by all participating powers in World War I: as cavalry horses, as pack animals and draft animals, and ultimately as meat suppliers.

Mules, donkeys, oxen and dogs were also used for transport purposes, and camels were also used on the fronts in the Middle East.

Dogs were the most diversely used species: their highly developed senses were used as guard and reporting dogs, they were used to track down injured or hidden enemies, but also in teams as draft animals and, last but not least, as mascots.

In addition to thousands of dogs, a large number of carrier pigeons were used to transmit information to difficult-to-reach points.

The role as a slaughter animal in the literal sense of the word was just as important in the war: in addition to the species that were also common in times of peace, in times of need in the hinterland and at the front, everything that was edible ended up in the soldiers' menage bowls.

The massaging of animals at certain points and the often poor housing conditions also increasingly led to diseases: in horses it was above all the so-called snot, a disease of the upper respiratory tract, the lungs and the skin, which was almost always fatal if left untreated Mange.

There were also special treatment facilities for horses and dogs, where some lucky specimens were given relief.

Not least, diseases refer to the undesirable representatives of animals in the world war: fleas, lice and rats as unshakable companions in the shadow of human civilization, even if this term seems absurd here.

In war animals suffered the same terrible conditions as humans, but even more than the images of atrocities affecting humans, the suffering of the tormented, innocent creature is touching and indignant.

  • The use of the reporting dogs