Monday, September 18, 2017

Dog-drawn carts were prohibited in Britain in the early 1900s on animal welfare grounds

A cart dog takes a rest, Netherlands 1890-1910

The banning of dog-pulled carts in Britain had an unforeseen and horrific side-effect.

No longer able to use their dogs for work, and unable to afford them as pets, hundreds of English working men drowned, shot, or clubbed their loyal friends to death rather than turn them loose to starve.

An American four-wheeled dogcart, having a compartment for killed game, was called a "game cart"

From the photographic evidence, we know that military Dog Carts were in use during WW1. However, from the very scarce number of photographs of German, French and British military Dog Carts ( with only one confirmed British Army use as yet ), we know the use of Dog Carts by these armies was extremely rare. Whereas, the Belgian Army were prolific users of Dog Carts to carry their machine guns and ammunition.

Typically, the Belgian Army used the powerfully built Matin-Belge ( Belgian Mastiff ) dog to haul the Dog Carts carrying their Maxim Machine Guns, there was also a second type of Dog Cart used to transport ammunition for the machine gun.

Although substantial numbers of the Belgian military Dog Carts were built during WW1, it is reported that unfortunately none of the original Machine Gun Dog Carts survive today, and only 2 of the original Ammunition Dog Carts still survive.

Made from light-weight tubular metal frames with 2 bicycle type wheels, the Belgian military Dog Carts pulled by a pair of dogs could successfully transport the Belgian Army's machine guns and ammunition.

Compared with the use of horses, the Belgian Army found that not only was it much cheaper to use dogs both from the initial purchase cost and the animal's upkeep costs, but also, on the battlefield the dog's much smaller and lower profile was a distinct advantage and also the dog's ease of control were also major advantages.

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