Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — On Saturday, 11 November, I attended the Remembrance Day service at Caulfield RSL, which is also the New Zealand sub-branch, as I always do. Georgie Crozier and David Southwick, the member for Caulfield in the Assembly, also attended, as they usually do as well. As the President mentioned yesterday, 2017 marks the 99th year since the Armistice when, as they say, the guns fell silent on the Western Front, ending four years of carnage and misery for millions of ordinary people — civilians and military personnel — caused largely by the arrogance, vanity, stupidity and stubbornness of European leaders. It is important that we never forget the suffering of millions of people and the underlying causes as we see similar scenarios playing out today.
In his address, the president of the Caulfield RSL, Mr Colin Bradley, mentioned the suffering of millions of animals during the First World War. More than 16 million animals so-called 'served' in the First World War. These included horses, donkeys, mules, camels, dogs, pigeons, canaries, cats and other animals. Many animals were also kept as mascots by the troops. Horses played a pivotal role in transporting troops and hauling supplies, equipment and ammunition, including in battles. More than 136 000 horses were sent with Australian troops to the First World War, and only one, Sandy, returned home at the end of the war. The documentary on Beersheba brought this tragedy home to all Australians, with the terrible scenes of soldiers having to shoot their own horses. None of them returned to Australia except, as I said, one — Sandy.