Ontario SPCA releases commemorative Animals in War pin, featuring a pigeon

·2 min read

As poppies start to don the lapels of jackets in the lead up to Remembrance Day, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society have unveiled their 2020 commemorative Animals in War collectible pin, with this year’s featured animal a pigeon.

“We must always remember the sacrifice of the people and animals who have served our country,” said Daryl Vaillancourt, Chief, Humane Programs and Community Outreach at Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society has been releasing their annual commemorative Animals in War pin during the lead up to Remembrance Day since 2017. The Animals in War pin is intended to be worn alongside a poppy, in memory of veterans and the animals who bravely served by their side. Kallie Milleman, Ontario SPCA community development and media relations specialist, said that although the pin features a specific animal, it looks to honour all of the wartime contributions from animals.

“As the Ontario SPCA and Humane society part of our mission is to recognize animals in a number of ways,” said Milleman. “When we think about Remembrance Day, we remember the incredible veterans but, in our mind as animal advocates, we also think about animals in that situation.”

Chosen to symbolize the wartime animals for 2020, pigeons played an important part in delivering crucial messages during the war.

“Pigeons actually played a really important role in wartime, they helped to carry crucial messages and in fact if you dig a little bit deeper and do a little bit of really interesting research you can see that there are some pigeons who actually won some of the highest awards during wartime,” said Milleman. “They really were an important figure and played a very important role in wartime and so this year that was our choice to commemorate those animals who bravely served.”

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society in previous years have honoured other animals on their commemorative pin. The Animals in War commemorative pin collection includes a featured horse, who were known for transporting troops and hauling field guns, and a dog who were known to serve as messengers, medical assistants, bomb detectors and search and rescue workers.

Ontario SPCA and Humane Society each year uses the funds from the pin to help provide care to animals in need as well as veterans.

With the global pandemic the Ontario SPCA says they are committing to donating $2.50 to Royal Canadian Legion branches across Ontario. In 2019 they sold 1,677 pins.

To purchase the Animals in War pin, go to www.ontariospca.ca .

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press