IT’S unlikely that future Anzac Day parades will have dogs marching alongside returned soldiers says the president of the Orange RSL Brian Merchant.
Mr Merchant, who is also the chairman of the Anzac Day committee, said he wouldn’t support the RSPCA’s recommendation that dogs and other military animals be included in future Anzac parades.
“As far as we’re concerned there will be no animals [marching],” Mr Merchant said.
Mr Merchant said not only would the inclusion of animals make insuring the event more difficult, it would also be inappropriate.
“I agree that they have to be recognised, and they will be in one way or another,” he said.
“The Anzac march is designed for ex-service personnel who have given the supreme sacrifice for their country ... it just wouldn’t be appropriate.”
The chief executive officer of the NSW RSPCA Steve Coleman told the Central Western Daily he understood the sensitivity surrounding the issue.
“In no way is this meant to detract from the importance of this tradition ... we see this as complementing traditions,” he said.
Mr Coleman said he’d like to see the vital role animals played in wartime officially acknowledged.
He said he’d be disappointed if armed services organisations didn’t recognise that animals served in wartime and continue to serve.
“We’d like this to be a reminder that animals helped their mates as well,” Mr Coleman said.
“[However] The RSPCA has not been lobbying for this for many years, it’s just an idea.”