Band of Mercy medal: Animal welfare from boyhood to the battlefield

A 100-year-old Band of Mercy medal engraved with horses, cows, cats and dogs is the latest item to go on public display in the War Horse: Fact & Fiction exhibition.

With a design approved by Queen Victoria, this bronze medal was presented to all children who signed the Band of Mercy pledge, promising to be kind to animals and ‘promote their humane treatment’. The example on display belonged to Private Philip Poole who worked with horses while stationed in France during World War One.

Watch our video of the RSPCA’s Chris Reed and exhibition curator Pip Dodd talking about the medal and discussing the RSPCA’s role during World War One.

Chris Reed and Pip Dodd explore the stories and details behind the Band of Mercy medal.

Posted in Blog


  1. Christine Richard, OBE
    Posted 18 August 2012 at 4.22pm | Permalink

    I have not yet seen the play but will be doing so when it comes to Edinburgh where I am patron of the Festival Theatre. This morning had great fun and privilege of being at Michael Morpurgo’s event at the Book Festival in Edinburgh. He got us all singing at the end which was very uplifting and quite emotional. So see it if you can. There’s much food for thought not only in the play but from the man himself.

  2. National Museum of Animals & Society
    Posted 24 August 2012 at 12.26am | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this video and including this artifact!

    The Bands of Mercy have a wonderfully rich history, and it’s one that we’ve just documented in our recent exhibition “Be Kind: A Visual History of Humane Education, 1880 – 1945″, which is on view at:

    Carolyn Merino Mullin
    Executive Director
    National Museum of Animals & Society (USA)

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