Military use of animals

Other Names:
Exploitation of marine mammals by the military
Military experiments on animals

Military animals are trained animals that are used in warfare and other combat related activities. As working animals, different military animals serve different functions. Horses, elephants, camels, and other animals have been used for both transportation and mounted attack. Pigeons were used for communication and photographic espionage. Many other animals have been reportedly used in various specialized military functions, including rats and pigs. Dogs have long been employed in a wide variety of military purposes, more recently focusing on guarding and bomb detection, and along with dolphins and sea lions are in active use today.


Animals have traditionally been used in warfare, especially horses, camels, elephants, mules, donkeys and dogs. Pigeons have been used to carry messages (with some 20,000 having been killed in the First and Second World Wars) and have been proposed as guidance devices for missiles. Bats have been tested as delivery systems for incendiary devices. Dogs, cats and pigs have been tested for the delivery of explosives and for torpedo guidance. In the light of research in public aquaria, marine mammals are increasingly exploited by the military whether for torpedo recovery, espionage or suicide missions.

Animals are extensively used in military research: animals are shot to determine the damage capacity of bullets and explosive devices; after being subjected to lethal doses of radiation, cats, dogs and other animals are run to death in rotary drums to determine their survival capacity; other animals are tested with biological and chemical weapons and then exposed to similar endurance tests.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on Land
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST