and Reports


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Gulf Veterans' Illnesses


A review of the circumstances in which UK forces
reported the presence of groups of dead animals
in theatre during Operation GRANBY in 1990/91


1. It has been widely reported by coalition troops who took part in land operations during the Gulf conflict in 1990/91 that they sometimes came across groups of animal corpses. This has led to suggestions that the presence of these dead animals has been overlooked in the assessments made by the UK and other governments that there is no confirmed evidence that Iraq used chemical or biological weapons (CBW) during the Gulf conflict. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has now reviewed the available information from MOD sources relating to the presence of dead animals in theatre during Op GRANBY.


2. This paper sets out how the further research into this subject was conducted and identifies both specific reports and general accounts of dead animals seen during the Gulf conflict. It has a narrowly focused scope, based on a search for any material which referred specifically to dead animals. More wide ranging work on alleged CBW detections during the Gulf conflict is still in progress (see below).

3. In order to complete this review of MOD information concerning dead animals, three approaches were adopted. First, a trawl was conducted of contemporary papers relating to Op GRANBY to identify any substantive references to dead animals. These were followed up by searching for related paperwork or reports and by interviewing personnel who were involved. Second, in so far as this was not already covered, contact was made with personnel who might be expected to have been aware of any reports relating to dead animals by virtue of their posts at the time. Finally, questionnaires were sent to a random selection of 500 serving Gulf veterans to ask whether they had seen or had any knowledge of dead animals in the Gulf, or whether they had heard of, or been involved in, samples being taken for analysis. One pre-existing suggestion relating to animal samples was also followed up.

4. Overall, the review found that many of those involved in Op GRANBY remembered seeing dead animals, but could provide no further details. Only a small number of incidents involving dead animals were specifically mentioned in contemporary records.

Related work

5. The MOD is reviewing a number of specific events during the Gulf War in response to uncorroborated reports from British veterans that these may have involved exposure to CBW. The results of this work will be made public as each stage is completed. The first of these reviews, concerning the Kuwaiti Girls School, was published on 19 March 1998.

6. The second review in this category is now underway. This is focusing on alleged chemical warfare agent detections in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia in late January 1991. The third review, which will look specifically at possible biological warfare agent detections and the activities of 1 Field Laboratory Unit, will follow. It is intended that these reviews should provide a comprehensive account of UK activity during Op GRANBY concerning these subjects.


7. The current review arose from a commitment given in 1997 to see if the Ministry of Defence had any information concerning dead animals during the Gulf conflict. Since that time MOD has also begun to carry out broader based reviews into alleged CW and BW detections during Op GRANBY, which will look in more detail at many matters which are touched upon below when dealing with the specific issue of dead animals. In view of the continuing interest in this subject, this paper sets out what is known about dead animals without waiting for those more general reviews of CBW issues to be concluded. However, ultimately it will need to be seen in the light of that wider work.

Parliamentary Questions

8. On 5 March 1997, the then Under Secretary of State for Defence, Earl Howe, made a statement in the House of Lords concerning written answers given to the Countess of Mar in June and July 1996 about dead animals found in the Gulf, which he now believed to be incorrect. He said:

"My Lords, with the leave of the House I should like to make a personal statement.

On Thursday of last week I was telephoned in the House by a journalist who told me that his inquiries had led him to believe that my Written Answers to the noble Countess, Lady Mar, on 4th June and 5th July last year about the deaths of animals during the Gulf War were incorrect. I immediately set in hand an investigation. Early yesterday evening I received departmental advice that there is now considerable doubt about the accuracy of my Answers. This is a serious matter about which I feel it right to inform the House at the earliest opportunity. I shall report to the House as soon as the full facts are clear."

9. Earl Howe subsequently wrote to the Countess of Mar to explain how this error occurred and undertook to have further research conducted by the Department for information relevant to this subject. The text of the letter was as follows:

"When we met today I promised to write to you setting out the explanation for the mistakes made in answering two of the Parliamentary Questions you asked last June and July.

Your questions essentially related to the cause of death of large numbers of camels, sheep and goats which you said had been found during and after the Gulf War, and whether they had died as a result of chemical weapons exposure. These questions were passed to the Defence Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) Defence Centre at Winterbourne Gunner for advice. The staff could not track down anyone with any knowledge of the events you described and eventually sought advice from a British Army veterinary officer who had served in the Gulf.

This officer had been employed principally on non–veterinary duties but had been asked by the Kuwaitis to attend to sick animals when he reached Kuwait at the end of the war. In a telephone conversation with the Defence NBC Centre, he gave an account of the condition of animals he treated in Kuwait, including some dairy cattle suffering from the effects of starvation which appeared to have developed mouth ulcerations as a result of licking car batteries abandoned within their enclosure. He contacted the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh to check whether he might be overlooking a tropical disease, and he also sent them nasal swabs from the cattle.

He was given advice and information by the Edinburgh Centre but he never received any acknowledgement of receipt, or the results of any analysis in respect of the samples. In his experience it was normal practice in such circumstances for results to be returned only if a disease had been identified. Meanwhile, he gave conventional treatment to the cattle, to which they responded well.

Unfortunately, an officer at the Defence NBC Centre misunderstood the above information and wrongly concluded that samples of the animals referred to in your questions were sent to Edinburgh for analysis. Based on this, an incorrect answer was drafted. An accurate answer would have said that we were unable in the time available to find any information on the events which you describe.

I very much regret that this error occurred and am grateful to you for accepting that what happened was the result of a misunderstanding.

The Ministry of Defence is currently reviewing its instructions on how Parliamentary Questions should be answered in the light of the wrong answers given on the use of organophosphate pesticides in the Gulf War. I have also asked the department to make a further search to see if we have any information relevant to your original questions. I shall write to you again when this work is complete.

I am placing a copy of this letter in the Libraries of both Houses and intend that this letter be published in the Official Report at the earliest opportunity."

Chemical and biological warfare

10. Chemical and biological weapons are categorised as weapons of mass destruction (WMD). A successful attack on unprotected forces using chemical or biological warfare agent could result in casualties, often lethal, of up to 100%. The UK Armed Forces are equipped with a range of equipment to protect them against CBW and receive training on how to use it and what to do in the event of a CBW attack. In addition, specialist personnel within units and higher formations operate Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) cells, which are responsible for warning and reporting of NBC incidents; that is, they collect any information received from subordinate units which could indicate the presence of a NBC attack, carry out assessments of this information and report this up the chain of command, and pass warnings received and alert states back to those subordinate units.

11. CBW agents are often difficult to detect before they take effect. While the effects of some CBW agents are immediate, it can take some time before the effects of others, especially BW agents, become apparent. UK forces have specialist detection equipment for this purpose, but also watch for other indications that CBW agents may have been used. Whilst the relative toxicity of chemical and biological agents varies between species, many such agents are lethal to animals as well as humans. Hence amongst the possible signs and indicators that CBW may have been used is the presence of dead animals. The manual for NBC Advisors in use at the time of Operation GRANBY advised that special teams could be used to confirm the location of a biological attack by identifying empty munitions, traces of BW agents and/or dead vegetation, animals or people.

12. Even when an attack using CBW is believed to have taken place, it is often difficult to be certain which agent has been used. Hence UK doctrine for following up a suspected CBW attack involves obtaining samples from the site very quickly. A NATO– wide specialist protocol (NATO STANAG 4359) has been developed for this purpose, which specifies the use of special equipment and procedures known as Sampling and Identification of Biological and Chemical Agents (SIBCA) for the purpose of isolating samples and transporting them to laboratory facilities for detailed evaluation.

13. During Op GRANBY the UK formed and deployed a specialist biological warfare agent detection system to the Gulf. This was known as 1 Field Laboratory Unit (1FLU) and it was equipped with experimental equipment, known as the Biological Detection System (BDS), which had been devised and built by the Chemical and Biological Defence (CBD) sector of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), situated at Porton Down. 1FLU was also equipped with Standby Assay Kits (SAKs) which are designed to monitor for the presence of some biological warfare agents. The specialist, and at the time, highly sensitive nature of the biological detection teams meant that they operated outside the normal chain of NBC reporting, described in paragraph 10; the OC of 1FLU reported directly to the SO2 J3 NBC (the Staff Officer, of Major or equivalent rank, within the Joint Headquarters Operations Branch with primary responsibility for NBC matters) at HQ British Forces Middle East (BFME) in Riyadh.

Herd animals in the Arabian Peninsula

14. The Arabian peninsula covers 2,590,000 square kilometres and has a population of some 29 million people. The area in which UK forces operated in 1990/91 – northern Saudi Arabia, southern Iraq and Kuwait – is one of great contrasts. On the coasts and at intervals inland are modern cities linked by major highways. However, between these urban areas are large expanses of desert or semi–desert terrain which are sparsely populated by families who still follow a traditional nomadic way of life, herding camels, goats and sheep. Hence it is not unusual to see herds or flocks when driving between urban areas or for the occasional dead animal to be observed, miles from habitation, at the roadside; perhaps killed in a traffic accident, or having died from starvation or dehydration because it had become separated from the herd (animals are not tethered and many roads are not fenced off). In addition, certain diseases are endemic to the region, including anthrax.

15. When Kuwait was invaded, Iraqi troops moved out from the urban areas into the surrounding country to defend their conquest. Later, coalition troops also began deploying from their bases into the open spaces to prepare for operations. Hence previously infrequently travelled areas were now occupied by large mechanised formations and the nomadic groups for whom these places were normally home found themselves in a war zone. Contemporary reports suggest that as a result they may have slaughtered some of their animals so as to be able to move more rapidly in the now uncertain environment in which they found themselves in late 1990 and early 1991.

UK reporting

16. Communications on NBC matters between the HQ BFME and MOD during Op GRANBY were passed on the Air Staff Management Aid (which was commonly known as ASMA) via HQ RAF Strike Command (HQ STC) (the Permanent War HQ (PWHQ)). The individual reports are known as "Totes". An ASMA tote relating to reports of dead animals has been identified and is quoted in this paper.


17. A search of contemporary reporting within MOD during Op GRANBY found one instance in which the presence of dead animals in theatre was mentioned. This specifically related to suspected attacks using a biological warfare agent.

18. On 23 February 1991, two separate reports were received by HQ BFME in Riyadh which mentioned the presence of dead animals as possible indicators of a BW attack. Owing to their proximity in time, the contemporary records tend to refer to both incidents together, even though the reports were of events separated by some distance and perhaps by some time.

19. Contemporary US reporting of these incidents can be found in the US CENTCOM NBC Desk Logs which have been published by the US Department of Defense.

Dead camels and goats at the roadside

20. On 23 February, the US military police reported sighting dead animals near two of the roads, known as Main Supply Routes (MSR), which were in frequent use by coalition forces. The following day, an ASMA message was generated by the NBC Cell at HQ BFME, Riyadh at 1517hrs GMT on 24 February 1991. It stated:

"[paragraph 2] As at 232000C Feb 91, recce elms [reconnaissance elements] of the 115 MP Coy [US Military Police Company] rpted that from 16–21 Feb dead camels were found on MSR YUGO <beginning 2706N04824E and ending 2819N04557E> vicinity of QARYAT AL ULYA <2733N04742E> and 25– 30 dead goats and camels were found on MSR CADILLAC <beginning 2609N4927E and ending 2658N04823E> vicinity of THAJ. A number of green plastic grain feed bags <2'x 3'> approx 100lbs each with blue lettering were noted along both MSRs. The group of dead animals were each clustered around these bags; individual animals were also found. These bags are similar to bags of BARLEY off–loaded at the port of DAMMAM. Local villagers seemed to pay little notice to the dead animals. Currently there are no reports of human infection. US Vet and BIO teams have been dispatched to collect samples and carry out analysis. No further evidence yet.

FFMA [Forward Force Maintenance Area] BDS to move to each loc to take samples of animals/grd [ground] for SAKS. IMPERATIVE before team moves out that team leader speaks on Ptarmigan to [CBD representative in theatre] at HQ BFME ref the collection of samples incl poss SIBCA recovery."

A map showing these locations is attached at the end of this report.

Log Base Alpha anthrax detection / six ill UK Servicemen

21. The second incident involved a positive test for anthrax being reported by a US biological detection team from an air sample taken at Log Base Alpha, in the vicinity of Sodowiyat along the main Tapline road, which linked the base area at Al Jubayl with forward positions, including the UK's FFMA near Al Qaysumah. At about the same time, six UK Servicemen who had been sharing the same tented accommodation at Log Base Alpha fell ill, suspected of suffering from lower lung pneumonia. In view of the reports about possible anthrax use, it was feared at the time that these symptoms might be the first cases of anthrax amongst coalition troops.

22. The ASMA message quoted above also stated:

"SUSPECTED PRESENCE OF ANTHRAX. Intrep received from US G2 as follws:

[paragraph one] A positive ANTHRAX air sample was identified at LOG BASE A, vicinity of SODOWIYAT along the TAPLINE road <PS5310–PR7897>. Both US field and lab tests, performed by the BIO MED sampling team, were positive as of 232000C Feb 91. A large number of dead sheep were also noted in the area <No UNK>. A sample has been sent back to the US for further analysis and samples in theatre will under go further 24 hr observation period."

MOD HQ reporting

23. These ASMA messages formed the basis of a report prepared by the CBD Cell in the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) at MOD Main Building at 1850 hrs on 24 February 1991. Headed "CBW Unconfirmed use: Part I, Report No: 001" it stated:

"1. An unconfirmed CBW Report was received:

a. By ASMA

b. From JHQ

c. At (DTG) 241517Z.

2. Reported details :

a. Time of attack )

b. Area of attack )

c. Method of attack ) See attached ASMA STOC 55 p81

d. Units Affected )

e. Established Casualties )

f. Suspected Agent )

3. Free text :

In addition to the above reported incidents [the ASMA messages quoted above] there has been 6 reported cases of pneumonia at 4 Armd Bde Dressing Station 5A. All 6 cases shared the same tent at Log Base A. Four of pers have been casevac to KKI for further diagnosis. Rep CDE, in theatre to check BDS equipments, is to investigate occurrence.

BDS and SIBCA teams despatched to areas of reported animal deaths.

Attached map shows locs.

These separate incidents DO NOT AMOUNT TO CONFIRMED CBW use – they may be a series of coincidences; CBD Cell in conjunction with JHQ STO/CBD are verifying reports with JFHQ/Allies.

Further SITREP expected 242200Z."

24. In fact there were no SIBCA teams as such; the BDS teams were trained and equipped to carry out SIBCA if necessary. The SO2 J3 NBC at HQ BFME has confirmed that he did not send a formal NBC1 BIO report, the procedure for reporting a suspected BW attack, to spark this CBD Cell report.

25. Work in theatre to look into these incidents and which provided the information behind the higher level reports, was carried out by both US and UK personnel, including the UK's 1FLU. Samples were taken for analysis in theatre; consideration was also given to returning UK samples to CBD for further analysis, but apparently this was not pursued because all analyses in theatre proved negative. An account of 1FLU's activities during Op GRANBY will be published in due course as part of the work on possible BW detections (see paragraph 6 above).

26. Following this further US and UK activity in theatre, a second CBD Cell report: "CBW Unconfirmed Use Part II, Report No: 001", timed at 0930hrs 25 February 1991 stated:

" 1. SIBCA :

a. Sample collection not yet initiated ..or )

b. Samples being collected ..or )

c. Samples have been collected. ) Not req'd

d. Samples en route to UK ..or )

e. Samples at CDE – being analysed. )

2. Free text

The dead animals, suspected of dying from anthrax had had their throats cut. One of the dead goats was tested for anthrax and was proved negative.

The "positive anthrax air sample" reported by the US at Log Base A was checked by a UK BDS team and was proved negative.

Note: The US BIO detectors are unreliable.

The soldiers suspected of suffering from lower lung pneumonia are now assessed as having flu.

These false alarms emphasis that it is imperative that suspected CBW incidences are VERIFIED through the CBD Cell before Ministers/Senior Officers are briefed.

3. Suspected agent details attached. Not applicable."

The comment about verification of CBW incidents is believed to relate to concerns that reports of the suspect anthrax air sample, collocated dead animals and the six sick servicemen had been reported orally as a possible BW attack to senior levels back in the UK separately from the NBC channel.

27. The review contacted those involved with generating the above messages and reports: they recalled the incident, but could add nothing substantive to the documents themselves. The high profile which the incidents were given at the time was probably the result of the timing, as coalition land operations to liberate Kuwait had just commenced, in the early hours of 24 February 1991. No contemporary MOD documentation which referred to any other incidents involving reports of dead animals was found by this review.

28. This review identified one group of reports from theatre to MOD in which dead animals are mentioned. Overall, it did not find any evidence to suggest that the presence of dead animals in the Gulf theatre of operations during the 1990–91 conflict was regarded at the time as evidence of the actual use of CBW, as opposed to a possible warning indication. However, the reviews of the wider issues relating to possible CW or BW detections during Op GRANBY, including an account of 1FLU's activities, are still in progress and they will look at all aspects of these matters at working level in theatre.


Specific individuals

29. A number of Service and civilian staff involved in Op GRANBY were identified as holding posts at the time, either in the Gulf or in the UK, whose duties should have involved them in any activity resulting from reports of dead animals in relation to suspected CBW incidents. These included both NBC and medical specialists.

30. All the individuals contacted recalled that at the time they had seen or heard of reports of dead animals in theatre and that there had been discussion of this phenomenon. Overall, they believed the numbers of animals involved in such incidents did not exceed thirty on any particular occasion. None of them were aware of any evidence to suggest that these deaths were the result of exposure to chemical or biological warfare agents, although many remembered that this possibility had been suggested on occasion and followed up. Some recalled seeing reports that the animals had died of natural causes, such as lack of water, or had had their throats cut. None of the individuals had any knowledge about samples from or carcasses of dead animals being returned to the UK for analysis.

31. The SO2 J3 NBC at HQ BFME in Riyadh recalled particularly one incident, albeit hazily, in late November/early December 1990 when the presence of a number of dead sheep, camels and goats were reported as a result of a reconnaissance by helicopter. He believed that subsequent investigations on the ground revealed that these animals, which were in an advanced state of decomposition, had been poisoned by a cyanide–based compound. At the time he had been advised that this was the result of the animals' owners fearing being caught up in fighting and leaving the area in a hurry. Identification of the cause of death was possible as residue of the poison was adjacent to the site and a number of bags which contained the poison were also recovered by the Saudi team following up the report. So far it has not been possible to trace any contemporary documentation relating to this incident, but this will be followed up as part of the wider CW and BW detection reviews.


32. On the basis that there appeared to be very little contemporary information about dead animals available, although it was a subject which UK personnel recalled being raised at the time, it was decided to send a questionnaire to a sample population of Gulf veterans still serving in the British Army to see if this revealed any new lines of enquiry. Twenty two units which had operated over a reasonable geographical spread within the Gulf theatre were selected by HQ Land Command and asked to return at least 10 questionnaires from Gulf veterans on their current strength.

33. These veterans, selected at random from within these units, were asked:

"(a) Did you see or hear of any mass deaths of local animals (eg camels, sheep or goats) during the Gulf War? If so, please give details.

(b) Did you take part in, or hear of, any work to determine the cause of death of any dead animal found during the Gulf War? If so, please give details.

(c) Further to (b), did you take part in, or hear of, any samples from or carcasses of dead animals being sent to the UK for any purpose?"

34. 479 questionnaires were returned as a result of this exercise (although 158 of these were from members of one unit). 18 individuals reported sightings of dead animals in the Gulf, details of which are given at Annex A. These ranged from instances of sea birds covered in oil, to 'a large number of dead animals'. Overall, members of 7 units out of the 22 contacted recalled seeing dead animals at some time during their deployment to the Gulf.

35. In the main, those responding had only the most general idea where they had been at the time and none reported any activity to investigate the cause of death of the animals found, although in many cases the apparent cause of death was mentioned in the reply. None of the reports suggested that the animals had died as a result of exposure to CBW. One veteran was able to produce a photograph of a pile of animal corpses which he had seen whilst moving with his unit – see Annex B. None of the veterans who responded could recall anything to suggest that samples from or carcasses of these dead animals were sent to the UK for analysis.

36. Taken together these reports suggest that whilst it was not unusual to see dead animals in theatre, non–specialist units do not appear to have become involved in activity to follow up such sightings.


37. An essential element of the follow–up to a suspected CBW attack is the acquisition and subsequent analysis of appropriate samples. One UK Gulf veteran who was deployed to the Gulf with 1FLU has described returning to the UK from the Gulf with his unit's equipment on a special flight which terminated at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire. He has been reported in the press (see The Independent, 5 March 1997) as having stated that this flight also carried body–bags containing dead animals which he presumed were bound for Porton Down, as was the equipment he was escorting.

38. The SO2 J3 NBC at HQBFME recalls arranging for the repatriation of the BDS vehicles from theatre at the end of the conflict and has confirmed that to his knowledge no animal samples were returned to the UK for analysis at this or any other time.

39. The OC of 1FLU has confirmed that at the end of the Gulf conflict members of his unit and their equipment were flown back to RAF Boscombe Down on or around 12 March on dedicated C–130 aircraft. He was able to locate copies of the flight manifests for two of these aircraft, including the one which the Gulf veteran in question had travelled on. A transcribed copy of this manifest is at Annex C.

40. The OC has also stated that, to his knowledge, no animal samples were carried on any of these flights. No such items are listed on the flight manifests. The seven fridge freezers which are mentioned in the attached flight manifest had been used to store reagent in the supply depot at Riyadh. There is no capability on RAF C130 aircraft to power such equipment. During the flight these freezers were filled with sundry equipment in order to save space. The only chilled items the OC 1FLU recalls were small, insulated packages containing frozen or chilled reagents which had been used in the BDS itself. More generally, OC 1FLU was not aware of any animal samples having been returned to the UK at any time.

41. The review has found no evidence to suggest that animal samples from the Gulf theatre were transported to CBD Porton Down, either on this flight or at another time. Similarly, CBD has no record of any material from dead animals being received or analysed in connection with the Gulf conflict.

42. The Gulf veteran who described accompanying the animal samples was contacted and asked whether he had any additional information relating to this flight or the animal samples he has described seeing. However, he was unwilling to discuss this matter with MOD or to respond to written requests for information.

43. The review was, therefore, unable to pursue this specific issue any further and has concluded that, on the basis of the currently available information, there is no evidence to suggest that animal samples from the Gulf theatre were returned to CBD Porton Down for analysis.


44. The general question of whether the presence of dead animals might signify the use of CBW has also been addressed in the US. In 1996 a report by the US Institute of Medicine entitled "Health Consequences of Service during the Persian Gulf War: Recommendations for Research and Information Systems" states:

"veterinaries in Kuwait found no animal deaths due to chemical or biological weapon use, although many animals were killed by Iraqi soldiers and many died from water deprivation".

45. An information paper concerning the US Navy Forward Laboratory (NFL) was published by the US Department of Defense last November. The NFL was established in September 1990 at an unoccupied civilian hospital in Al Jubayl and eventually had a staff of eight: four microbiologists, two infectious diseases specialists and two laboratory technicians. The US information paper states:

"the NFL developed into a state–of–the–art infectious disease diagnostic laboratory ..... When fully operational, the NFL served as the theatre–wide, infectious diseases reference laboratory for coalition forces."

47. It is clear that during the Gulf War it was not uncommon to see individual or groups of dead animals in the desert, in various states of decomposition. As early as August 1990, US veterinary personnel were asked about numerous piles of dead animals scattered across the desert. The NFL paper states that:

"Beginning in August 1990, US veterinary personnel evaluated these animals and determined that their deaths were due to natural causes among the large herds of sheep, goats and camels kept by Bedouin in this region. The local residents left the dead animals in specific locations for counting and compensation from the government. In the desert, these dead animals tended to dry out rather than decompose rapidly.

US troops camping near these locations were naturally concerned about the piles of dead animals. There was concern that the animals might be a breeding ground for insect– transmitted diseases. Consequently, military entomologists (experts in insect and pest control) thoroughly sprayed the piles of dead animals with insecticides –– which may in turn explain some subsequent reports of dead animals and insects, particularly among troops who arrived in Saudi Arabia in January and February 1991, at the start of the war. These newly arrived troops would not have known that dead animals had been in the desert for at least five months before hostilities began."

48. The report also states that:

"During the course of the war, the NFL BW team also analysed some of the dead animals discussed earlier. Using the NFL's array of detection techniques, the BW team analysed samples from seven dead goats and found no BW agents. Also, analysis of 33 samples from air collectors stationed around the theatre of operation showed no evidence of BW contamination. Further, water samples obtained after the war from the Royal Palace in Kuwait City were analysed and no biological agents were found."

With permission of the US Department of Defense, a copy of the paper is attached at Annex D.


49. This review looked for incidents during the Gulf conflict in which UK forces reported the presence of dead animals. It found that many of those who served in theatre remembered the presence of dead animals, but few were able to provide any detailed information about such incidents. It is clear from the contemporary documentation that the idea that the presence of groups of dead animals might be an indicator that Iraq had used CBW was considered at the time and that certain incidents were investigated for that specific reason. Enquiries to establish whether sample remains of dead animals had been returned to the UK, or specifically to CBD Porton Down, for the purpose of analysis did not find any evidence that this had occurred.

50. So far, on the basis of contemporary reports and eyewitness accounts, no evidence has been found to suggest that the presence of dead animals in the Gulf theatre of operations during the 1990– 91 conflict was related to the use of CBW. Therefore at present MOD remains of the view that there is no confirmed evidence of the use of chemical or biological weapons by Iraq in 1990/91. However, the two wider ranging MOD reviews of alleged CW and BW detections, and related matters, are still in progress and therefore this current paper can only be regarded as an interim report on these wider issues. Any additional information on the specific issue of dead animals will be included in the reports of those reviews, which will be published when they are complete.

Ministry of Defence
6 April 1998



1. 21 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers

15 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

2. 35 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers

12 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

3. 32 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers

12 questionnaires returned. 7 positive responses.

4 responses believed animals seen had died as a result of exploding munitions.

1 individual was required to shoot a donkey as it appeared to be epileptic.

2 other individuals saw numbers of dead animals, but did not come into direct contact with them.

4. Household Cavalry Regiment

11 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

5. 4 Regiment Army Air Corps

10 questionnaires returned. 2 positive responses.

1 individual recalled seeing approximately 6 dead camels during a convoy move, exact location unknown.

1 recalled seeing a number of dead beasts (but not a mass). This individual was contacted and asked to provide further details. He confirmed that the number of animals, which were all camels, was about ten. He could not recall the location nor did he have any knowledge of how the animals had died.

6. 1 Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

15 questionnaires returned. 1 positive response.

Whilst in a convoy in Kuwait, one soldier saw a herd of dead camels on the roadside. This individual was contacted but was unable to provide any further details.

7. 22 Special Air Service Hereford

10 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

8. 7 Armoured Brigade & Signal Squadron, Royal Corps of Signals

10 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

9. Band of the Scots Guard

10 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

10. 1 Battalion Coldstream Guards

11 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

11. 1 Battalion Queen's Own Highlanders

35 questionnaires returned. 1 positive response.

1 individual recalled seeing a large number of dead animals. Cause of death unknown. Photograph taken of a pile of animal corpses (see Annex B).

12. 40 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

10 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

13. 26 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

13 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

14. 2 (Combat Support) Regiment Royal Logistic Corps

14 questionnaires returned. 3 positive responses.

1 individual remembers the clean up and rescue of oil covered birds.

1 recalls seeing 20 dead camels.

1 individual recalls a number of shot horses.

15. 1 Battalion Grenadier Guards

15 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

16. 5 Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps

17 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

17. 16 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps

13 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

18. 3 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

39 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

19. 4 (General Support) Regiment Royal Logistic Corps

12 questionnaires returned. 2 positive responses.

Sightings of large number of slaughtered animals.

The individuals concerned were contacted and asked to provide further details. 1 individual confirmed that he saw a small number of sheep and goats inside a building near Hafr Al Batin. The other individual was only able to add that the dead animals were located along the Tapline Road towards Hafr Al Batin.

20. 1 Battalion Scots Guard

20 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.

21. Queen's Royal Irish Hussars

15 questionnaires returned. 2 positive responses.

Large numbers of badly mutilated animals by the Basra Road. Assessed to be caused by exploding munitions.

22. 1 Battalion Staffordshire Regiment

158 questionnaires returned. Nil positive responses.


Number of units = 22

Number of questionnaires returned = 479

Number of positive sightings = 18





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