Monday, October 04, 2010

Happy 4th

October 4 is World Animal Day! The holiday began in Florence, Italy in 1931 at a convention of ecologists, with the goal of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4 was chosen because it is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, a patron saint of animals and the environment. In 2009, over 80 countries celebrated the holiday, with a vast array of events and programs that took place all over the globe.

World Animal Day has now gone far beyond being the celebration of a Christian saint and is observed today by animal lovers and stewards of all beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds. The official World Animal Day website ( was launched in the UK on October 4, 2003, encouraging people to commemorate their care and respect for animals, and to celebrate humankind’s special relationship with the animal kingdom. One aim is to help improve standards of animal welfare and protection of their ever-diminishing habitats.
Since its declaration, the holiday has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life. Animal blessings have been held in churches, synagogues, and by independent Animal Chaplains in parks and fields. Animal rescue shelters hold fundraising events and open adoption days, wildlife groups organize information displays, schools undertake animal-related project work and individuals and groups donate to animal welfare charities. In 2009, over 80 countries were involved, with a vast array of events from small grassroots groups to high-end galas and award ceremonies.

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