Dogs, Squirrels, Bats, Monkeys, Dolphins in Animal Warfare
Almost every civilization which raised armies for defense used dogs to serve on the battle field as defensive sentries. This includes the Egyptians to the Aztecs and also Native Americans. The Romans equipped their dogs with spiked collars and armor, while the Spanish conquistadors also armored their dogs in their South American conquests.
During Both World Wars, the Bouvier Des Flandres breed became the heroes of Belgium and France. They served as messengers and ambulance dogs. Hitler knew that the dogs were of immense value to the Allies, so he ordered one of the dogs to be captured so he could examine it. The Bouvier reportedly bit Hitler on the hand. He then ordered the German soldiers to kill the dogs on sight and exterminate them. But the local citizens hid them in their basements, tended their wounds and rescued this gentle cattle herding dog from extinction. After the war, the breed was reestablished. Belgium erected a statue to the Bouvier Des Flandres in addition to issuing a stamp with the dog pictured on it.
Navy Seals and Dolphins
The US Navy has trained these marine animals to mark mines in the water. Bottlenose Dolphins cleared ports, such as the port of Umm Quasr in southern Iraq, during the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War.
The US Army attempted to train 6000 bats to become suicide bombers during World War II. The experiment did not work. However the bats succeeded in setting fire to a simulated Japanese village, a general’s car and a US army hangar. But the Pentagon hasn’t yet given up on this idea. They are studying how bat flight mechanics in an effort to improve future spy robots.
Ancient armies rounded up poisonous snakes, crated them in baskets and launched them over enemy siege walls with catapults. This was a type of psychological warfare because the snakes terrified the residents and soldiers and killed many. Today US scientists are studying their heat-sensing abilities to improve detection equipment in order to give the army a combat advantage.
A bizarre report surfaced recently from the Chinese People’s Daily which suggests that the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan have been training macaques and baboons in the art of using light machine guns to mow down US soldiers. However the US Stars and Stripes news source reported that the Americans have observed no such monkey business in combat.
The Islamic Republic News agency of Iran reported that 14 squirrels engaged in espionage missions have been arrested within Iran’s borders. It went on to say that the residents of Basra, Iraq reported that the British released giant-sized, man-eating badgers as a terrorist ploy.
The main problem, besides the fact that the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention outlawed the tactic, is that the victims won’t know they’ve been hit for several days because it takes an incubation time for smallpox, plague and tularemia organisms to multiply and become effective in the human body. This is a tactic most likely to be used as a terrorist attack on unsuspecting civilian populations.
Biological warfare is an ancient tactic and the earliest known use was recorded in the Hittite history of 1500-1200 BCE. The Scythian soldiers of 400 BCE used snake venom, human blood and animal feces on their arrows to make the wounds become infected.