November 3rd 2012 – Veterans Affairs Canada
Ottawa – Mr. Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa–Orléans and representative for the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Senator Yonah Martin, Mrs. Laureen Harper, Honorary Patron of the Animals in War Dedication Project, Brigadier-General M.K. Overton, Assistant Chief of Military Personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces, and Mr. Russell Mills, Chair of the National Capital Commission (NCC), along with Veteran Lloyd Swick, founder of the project, today unveiled a dedication to honour animals who served alongside their human comrades in war. The dedication consists of three interpretative plaques explaining the roles played by animals during past wars. A bronze statue of a medical service dog stands nearby.
“As a tribute to the efforts of animals who served during crucial battles, we honour their unwavering loyalty, dedicated service, and strong companionship during difficult times” said Minister Blaney.
“With the unveiling of this dedication, Canadians now have a place to honour animals who’ve served in war alongside our Veterans,” said MP Galipeau. “Animals have always been a part of our lives and of our culture and should be recognized for their contributions to Canada’s war efforts.”
“This dedication in Canada’s Capital Region will help Canadians discover the contributions of animals in war,” said Mr. Mills, Chair of the NCC. “The National Capital Commission is pleased to add these artistic and interpretive elements next to the South African War Memorial in Confederation Park.”
A variety of animals were used during war. Mules carried supplies and artillery; horses hauled field guns; carrier pigeons delivered messages to specific destinations; and dogs worked as messengers, medical assistants, mine detectors and in search and rescue. Dogs are still employed by the Canadian Armed Forces today.
“With this dedication, we have ensured that the efforts and sacrifices of animals in war will be recognized today and in the future,” said Mr. Lloyd Swick, Founder of the Animals in War Dedication Project.
The Government of Canada contributed more than $98,000 toward the creation and unveiling of the Animals in War Dedication, located in Confederation Park, in downtown Ottawa.