Love comes in all shapes and sizes — and furs, scales, fins, and feathers, too. That’s the idea, anyway, behind this year’s theme for World Animal Day: “Great or Small, Love Them All.” Selected as part of an online competition for supporters of UK-based animal welfare charity and World Animal Day organizer Naturewatch Foundation, the theme was submitted by Mustaina Yakub of Leicester. What did the theme mean to her? “From tiny ants to the Antarctic blue whale, dogs to orangutans, and elephants who show grief, it is mesmerizing to know I share the same Earth with these spectacular species,” she told the organization.
For almost a century, World Animal Day celebrations have encouraged people to help address the many issues animals, both wild and domestic, face. How can you join the chorus of paws, hooves, and chirps on October 4 for this year’s event? Read on for ways to participate as well a brief history of this international salute to the species we share this planet with — from the tiniest critters to the mightiest beasts.
What is World Animal Day?
World Animal Day is a global movement devoted to animal welfare, conservation, and inspiring change in the treatment of animals. It’s a day to acknowledge the vital role animals play in our lives and ecosystems and to advocate for their well-being.
The history of World Animal Day
The first World Animal Day was celebrated in Germany in 1925 by cynologist Heinrich Zimmermann, who sought to address the sad state of both domestic and wild animals. (Cynology involves the study of dogs and their natural history.) More than 5,000 people attended the event at the Sport Palace in Berlin on March 24. Almost 100 years later, World Animal Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries, serving as a reminder that all creatures on this planet deserve humanity’s respect, compassion, and protection.
How to get involved in World Animal Day
Are you an animal lover that’s ready to show your support this World Animal Day? Here are some of the best ways to celebrate and make a positive impact!
Take to social media
Share informative posts, captivating images, and inspiring stories about animals on your social media platforms on October 4. Feel free to give a shout to your own pets as well! Then, remember to use hashtags like #WorldAnimalDay to join the global conversation.
Support animal charities and sanctuaries
Contribute to organizations that work tirelessly to protect and care for animals. Consider making a donation, volunteering your time, or adopting an animal from a reputable sanctuary. Any dollar amount or helping hand makes a positive difference in the fight for animal rights and welfare.
Become an advocate for animal rights
Get involved in local and global campaigns that aim to improve animal welfare laws and practices. There are so many ways to fight for change. Write to your legislators, participate in petitions, and support initiatives that champion the rights of animals. Consider joining or supporting organizations that work tirelessly to influence policy changes and advocate for the fair and humane treatment of animals.
By lending your voice, you become an important part of the movement toward a world where animals are treated with respect and compassion. Your advocacy can pave the way for meaningful and lasting change in the lives of countless creatures. And that’s no small thing!
Volunteer at your local animal shelter
Looking for a meaningful way to make a difference in your city this World Animal Day? Spend a day volunteering at a local animal shelter or rescue organization. Call up your local shelter and ask how you can lend a hand. Offer to walk dogs, socialize with cats, clean the animal bedding, or assist with feeding and cleaning tasks. Who knows — after volunteering October 4, it may become part of your weekly or monthly routine.
Eat plant-based meals the week of World Animal Day
Challenge yourself to explore delicious and nutritious plant-based meals throughout the week of World Animal Day. When opting for a vegan or plant-based diet for the day or week, you’re not only treating your taste buds to a delightful new experience but also making a powerful statement for animal rights. By doing so, you’re contributing to the reduction in demand for animal products, thereby lessening the environmental footprint associated with conventional livestock farming — an industry that accounts for nearly 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. This culinary adventure isn’t just about sustenance — it’s about helping to create a more sustainable and compassionate world, one meal at a time.
Organize your own events
Are you a bit of an animal expert — or know someone who is? Host workshops, webinars, or talks about animal welfare, conservation, and responsible pet ownership. Invite experts, conservationists, and animal behaviorists to share their knowledge. Organizing events is an amazing way to build awareness in your community and beyond.
Explore your local nature trails
Take the opportunity to connect with the natural world on World Animal Day. Do this by visiting a local park, nature reserve, or wildlife sanctuary to observe animals in their natural habitats. Remember to not disturb their daily routine, stay on the trail, and don’t feed wild animals or leave trash behind.
Promote responsible pet ownership
Educate others about the responsibilities and commitments associated with having a pet. Talk about the importance of adoption overbuying, the benefits of spaying and neutering, and the importance of regular veterinary care.
Practice ethical wildlife tourism
For the intrepid traveler, choose wildlife experiences that place the well-being and conservation of animals at the forefront. Seek out reputable sanctuaries, reserves, and tours that uphold ethical practices, ensuring that animals are treated with respect and dignity. Embrace opportunities to observe wildlife from a respectful distance, allowing them to thrive undisturbed.
Steer clear of activities that involve captive or exploited animals, opting instead for experiences that promote education, conservation, and sustainable coexistence. By making conscientious choices in your travels, you contribute to a world where humans and wildlife can harmoniously share the wonders of our planet.
Show compassion by choosing cruelty-free products
Be mindful of how your everyday choices impact animals. Choose cruelty-free products — these products will usually have a label of a bunny with heart-shaped ears — and support sustainable and ethical farming practices by buying organic.
From your shampoo to your makeup, choosing cruelty-free shows your kindness and respect for all walks of life. At SaltyLama, our plant-based, hypoallergenic laundry detergent sheets are produced without animal testing. Want to learn more about animals? Check out our guide on celebrating World Wildlife Day in March.
In celebrating World Animal Day, we not only honor the incredible diversity of life on our planet but also take a stand for the well-being and rights of animals everywhere. So, get out there, have fun, and make a positive impact toward the treatment of animals. Happy World Animal Day!