One week from today on October 4, animal organizations around the world will celebrate World Animal Day with special events, parties, fund raisers, gatherings, seminars and outreach programs to remind humans of the many roles that animals, both domestic and wild, have in our daily lives.
World Animal Day was started in Florence, Italy, back in 1931 by a group of ecologists to warn people about the plight of endangered species. It has since grown to include all animals and is celebrated throughout the world. October 4 was selected as the day because that is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. In 2003 the website and initiative was launched and now World Animal Day has grown to include organization, animal shelters, places of worship, schools, clubs, zoos and individuals from Aruba to Zimbabwe who all have special events to commemorate how animals enrich the world.
The events of World Animal Day are organized and promoted through the World Animal Day website with a listing of events, organizations and even ideas for things that you can do in your community to help animals. Here are just a few examples of how groups commemorate World Animal Day:
SPANA in Jordan worked with the Ajloun Agriculture Department to vaccinate dogs against rabies and raise awareness amongst the population about responsible dog ownership.
JFB in New Delhi, celebrated by organizing a procession with children wearing animals masks and carrying banners and a Dhol (a double-sided barrel drum) which attracted the attention of passersby. JBF has an animal welfare wing that runs Mobile Cattle Clinics and a Welfare wing that runs informal schools for children that live in slums or on the street.
Wildlife Alliance’s Kouprey Express – a mobile environmental education unit, celebrated World Animal Day in Cambodia by holding an animal art competition for orphans and vulnerable children in Phnom Penh.
Canadian Volunteers for the Protection of Animals held a Peaceful Rally and Walk in Montreal, Quebec, that had a turnout of 200 people.
With seven days left to go, World Animal Day is looking for World Animal Day Ambassadors to get their message across. So far they have signed up 75 ambassadors from 64 countries. Ambassadors are used to connect people to the World Animal Day organization by increasing awareness of animal issues and to be leaders in animal welfare. World Animal Day asks ambassadors to help out by publicizing the event through the media in their area, getting various organizations involved and creating website links to World Animal Day, and contacting national celebrities for help with support and relaying the message. To help ambassadors do this, World Animal Day sets up a website page for each Ambassador highlighting their work. The United States does not have anyone as an ambassador yet. Anyone who would like to volunteer or nominate a another person, please email Caroline Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Although groups and organizations can use this day to raise money for badly needed programs, the World Animal Day organization notes that they themselves do not fundraise on this day.
“We promote the day in order to encourage organizations, groups, and individuals to get involved. This is not a fundraising event for us,” says Barker, Project Manager. “It’s a day which should benefit all those who participate in celebrating animals. World Animal Day belongs to everyone.”
To learn more about how your organization can get involved, visit their Get Involved webpage or email email@example.com. For groups and organization that hold events, World Animal Day organizers want to hear about it. Send photographs and a short report about your event to the email address above and they will include the event in the World Animal Day round-up to show people around the world how you helped and inspired others. To see how your country commemorated World Animal Day 2010, click here.
Don’t miss out! Subscribe to the International Pet Examiner and get the latest animal information from around the world. Click on the subscribe link at the top of this article and enter your email address. You will be notified by email when a new article is posted. Have a story idea? Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.