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