World Animal Day
World Animal Day is a day in which people all over the world celebrate animals and work towards the well-being and rights of animals. It is celebrated on October 4th of each year, which is fitting since that is also the feast day of Francis of Assisi – the patron saint of birds and animals.
The mission of World Animal Day is to improve welfare standards for animals around the world and work to make the world a better place for all animals.
History of World Animal Day
Over the past few years, it has been reported that this holiday was adopted in 1931 at a meeting of ecologists. It has also been asserted that this meeting was meant to highlight the plight of various endangered species. However, both of those assertions are false. This day was actually started much earlier in Berlin, Germany.
On March 24th, 1925, the original World Animal Day was organized by a German named Heinrich Zimmerman (1887-1942), a man who was not only a writer but also a publisher of a magazine that was published on a bi-monthly basis known as Mensch und Hund/Man and Dog.
He used this magazine as a medium to promote his ideas on animal welfare and eventually used it to establish the World Animal Day Committee. In 1925, his committee organized World Animal Day on March 24th. He organized it in the Sports Palace in Berlin, Germany to raise awareness about animal welfare issues of the time and about 5,000 people showed up to this first event.
He originally wanted to hold the event on October 4th to coincide with the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi – patron saint of animals – but he couldn’t reserve the venue on that date and had to settle for March 24th.
Over the next few years, the event was held every year and eventually, in 1929, it was held on October 4th. Zimmerman continued to promote his holiday until May of 1931 when at the International Animal Protection Congress his resolution to make October 4th World Animal Day was adopted.
World Animal Day Customs & Traditions
World Animal Day can be celebrated in a number of different ways. One way is for people can pick up books by animal advocates such as Jane Goodall, Elisa Aaltola, Carol J. Adams, Brigid Brophy, Stephen R. L. Clark, Sue Coe, Craig Rosebraugh, and John Vyvyan to educate themselves on the subject.
People can also write a letter to their local newspaper or social media site to inform them of the importance of the day. Other ways in which the day can be celebrated include donating or volunteering at local shelters; adding animal-friendly elements to your yard such as birdbaths; adopting an endangered animal or even just buying your favorite animal a special treat.