Sunday, Oct. 4 was World Animal Day. It was founded by Heinrich Zimmermann on March 24, 1925, but later moved to Oct. 4 in 1929. Zimmermann chose the date as it is “the day of Christian Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and ecology.”
Over 5,000 people were at the event that took place on March 2, and since then, World Animal Day is used by many to discuss and promote the welfare of endangered species. The Naturewatch Foundation has sponsored it since 2003.
“This day is not just for domesticated animals, it’s for wild animals, endangered species, and those threatened by environmental devastation or lack of protection,” says the National Today website. “This day is a reminder not just to love the animals in our homes but to appreciate and respect all living things that are a part of our ecosystem.”
In 1931, the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence, Italy, adopted World Animal Day globally with a unanimous vote. Since then, thousands of events are held every year in honor of the day. Many shelters and pet shops will host adoption events to celebrate. Some cities hold festivals. There are even virtual events that use hashtags to host contests.
In Lafayette, the Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center has held “Blessing of the Pets” events in which pets are brought in to be blessed with prayer and holy water.
In honor of World Animal Day, the National Today website also lists a few big events in the history of animal welfare. For instance In 530 B.C., Pythagoras began to speculate that animals have souls and later began to vouch for being vegetarian.
Lewis Gompertz, a vegan, published a book called “Moral Inquiries on the Situation of Man and of Brutes” in order to advocate for animals’ rights in 1624.
“Black Beauty” is a book written by Anna Seawell from the perspective of a horse. It is considered the “first English novel written from the perspective of a non-human,” and “spurs debate over the treatment of horses” in 1877.
In 1931, the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence adopted World Animal Day globally.
In 1955, The Society for Animal Protective Legislation lobbied for humane slaughter legislation in the US.
Although it’s too late this year, if you want to celebrate World Animal Day in the future, here’s how: many websites recommend donating to animal welfare causes and local animal shelters. Volunteering your time at a shelter is something to consider, as well as adopting a pet if you have the financial means and the time.
Jane Goodall’s website also suggests using social media to spread the word about animal welfare.