Animals are worthy companions. They provide us support and companionship and make us better human beings. October 4, celebrated as world Animal Day, provides us an opportunity to do something for animals or at least to appreciate them in our thoughts. They are wonderful creations of god whom we must take care of. It is not only the responsibility of animal organisations and welfare groups but the duty of every individual.
World Animal Day
Heinrich Zimmerman, German writer and publisher of the magazine Mensch und Hund (Man and Dog) organised the first World Animal Day on 24 March 1925 in Berlin, Germany. He moved the date to October 4, the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a great lover of animals, in 1929. Every year Zimmerman worked tirelessly on the promotion of World Animal Day. In May 1931, the day of 4th October was chosen at a congress of the world’s animal protection organisations in Florence, Italy, to be celebrated as World Animal Day.
Blessings of Animals
Humans are blessed to have animals in their lives, whether as pets and companions or as source of livelihood and nourishment. Cattle, sheep, horses, camels, goats, dogs, pigs, hens, fish, and many other kinds of birds and animals provide humans sustenance and help. In some religions, slaughtering animals is essential to specific rituals. Ceremonial depictions of animals are common in art forms across the world. The meat of animals is, of course, the main part of the diet of many people, but animal skin, fur, and other body parts are also useful in many ways.
Animals are our companions, our workers, and our food. They appear prominently in ancient cave paintings as well as on modern commercial art. We have domesticated some of them, while others remain wild and sometimes endangered by our activities. They keep us company and serve us as valuable assistants.
The huge diversity of work performed by animals ranges from transportation to hunting to assisting the blind. Even in the automotive era, “horsepower” survives as a unit of measurement. The domestic animals have been used for benefits like milk, ploughing, and many agricultural uses since thousands of years. Horses, donkeys and camels are used for transportation in areas where wheeled vehicles cannot reach. Dogs are used for their better sense of hearing and smell to aid people with disabilities and perform law enforcement duties. As pets they provide us protection in our homes.
Unlike the performance of specific tasks, an animal’s value as a companion might be more difficult to measure. With human association and their domestication, animals have become objects of affection. They are sometimes helpful in providing relief to ill patients. Florence Nightingale observed small pets helping in reducing anxiety in psychiatric patients. They also help in improvement of social functioning, drawing different sections of society together into networks of food, trade, and barter.
Animals supply a wide variety of foods, like milk, cheese, eggs, butter, meat, etc. Some animal species such as corals and oysters are used by man to produce jewels and handicrafts. The hide of some animals is used to produce clothes. In many places of the world, animals are still the main means of transport. Every day animals join man and help him in diverse activities. Due to their great adaptability to climatic conditions, they can carry out tasks that man cannot. Animals even contribute to the country economically. For example, the contribution of livestock is 16% to our GDP.
What Happens on World Animal Day?
This day is a celebration of the lives of animals and the human mission dedicated to their welfare. Several animal welfare organisations, community groups, youth and children’s clubs conduct activities and organise events to draw attention to animal issues and motivate people to come forward and help animals. In India, among the many organisations that work for the security and safety of animals are ‘Animal Welfare Board of India’, ‘National Institute of Animal Welfare’ ‘Animal Aid Unlimited’, ‘Wildlife SOS India’, and ‘Red Paws Rescue’.
Aim of Celebration
World Animal Day celebrates the relationship between humans and animals. People around the globe mobilise to make the world a better place for all animals. This day is a global call for action for animal rights and welfare. The mission of this day is to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. This day is celebrated in different ways in every country irrespective of religion, faith or political ideology. By dint of increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is given to their welfare.
The day can be celebrated by organising local events, school programmes, seminars, visiting local zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, etc. As these days the conditions are not conducive for such activities because of the Covid-19 pandemic, some other ways can be adopted to show our appreciation to these magnificent creatures.
1. DONATION: As responsible citizens of society we must donate to organisations which are working for the welfare of animals.
2. AWARENESS VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: Almost everyone is active on one or other social media portal. Awareness of animal rights and animal welfare can be effectively disseminated via social media to encourage more people to contribute towards the well being of animals.
3. NEWS AND ARTICLES: Publishing news and articles can be a way of working for the safety and security of animals, both in the wild and in human habitations. People will do more once they better understand the importance of animals in their life.
Some of us are so ignorant and cruel that we mercilessly beat animals or harm them for no reason. Just because animals do not speak in the language we do, it does not mean that they are not hurting. Let us take an oath today to treat animals the way they deserve to be treated. Whenever we look into the eyes of an animal, we should see a living being and a friend. We must remember that it takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.