World Animal Day was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
THE WORLD ANIMAL DAY MISSION
- To celebrate animal life in all its forms
- To celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom
- To acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives
- To acknowledge and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives
Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. He was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He was born in 1181 or 1182 and died October third, 1226. He is known as the patron saint of animals and the environment, and is one of the two patron saints of Italy (with Catherine of Siena).
The Finnish Society for Welfare of Animals was founded in 1901. In the early days the association mostly promoted the use of horse meat for food. The article (linked above) said it was difficult to have a horse slaughtered in the early 20th century – instead the horses were often used for work until they collapsed. The association hired an inspector, whose job was to buy the poorly treated, old and injured horses from the markets and have them put to rest.
The founder of the association, lieutenant colonel T.K. Forstén is considered to be one of the most important people in the history of the association. He lectured and wrote books about the animal welfare issues and ethical treatment of animals, for example the use and development of quick and painless slaughter options.
Nowadays SEY’s main goals are sharing information and campaining for welfare of animals. The World Animal Day starts the Animal Week in Finland. The week has a different theme every year. Last year it was cats, this year it’s cows and their welfare on farms.
Today is a good day to take a minute to think about these things. Happy world animal day everyone!