Creepy true story from history: The British pet holocaust of World War II

This is a little-discussed but terrifying moment of panic! At the beginning of World War II, a government pamphlet led to a massive cull of British pets. As many as 750,000 British pets were killed in just one week.


During World War II, Britain ordered the massacre of all family pets!

750000 pets were killed within a week to overcome food shortage in a starting war!

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The British Pet Holocaust of World War II. Look at what is written on the sign starting by ‘closed sundays’. Photo: Getty images

What to do with your pets once a war brakes out? During WWII, the British government, concerned by food shortages, created the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee in 1939, which drafted a notice named Advice to Animal Owners.

The pamphlet, which came with an advertisement for a specific type of gun, said: “If at all possible, send or take your household animals into the country in advance of an emergency […] If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed.”

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Pamphlet called “Advice to Animal Owners” was distributed by British government to kill pets during WW II. Photo: UK National Archive

The reaction of the British population was radical. Within the course of a week, 750,000 family pets were “destroyed.”

Also, please note that this took place during the summer of 1939 — i.e., before Germany invaded Poland, and during a time when the British government could have done a lot more damage to Nazi Germany if they simply attacked them instead of massacring all family pets and printing posters for when the Nazis conquered London.

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