Animal lovers unite for World Animal Day

Animal advocates in around 100 countries are taking part in over 1,000 events today in celebration of World Animal Day (WAD)—the global initiative to make the world a better place for animals.

WAD was founded in 1931 by a group of ecologists in Florence, Italy, and has since grown into an internationally recognised movement, coordinated by the Naturewatch Foundation and supported by animal ambassadors in every corner of the globe.

The campaign’s mission is to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the world. It is held each year on 4th October—the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

The international day of action highlights the plight of all animals, including wildlife, pets, zoo animals, livestock, beasts of burden and animals used in laboratory testing, and unites NGOs, businesses, community groups and individuals who stand up for the rights of animals everywhere.

‘World Animal Day continues to make a huge difference for animals in Africa and the world at large,’ said Josphat Ngonyo, Executive Director, Africa Network for Animal Welfare, one of many organisations celebrating WAD. ‘What World Animal Day is doing for animals is truly influencing all of us in amazing ways.’

If you’re feeling inspired to do something for animals today, here’s 10 ways in which you can get involved.

1. Attend an event

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Animal supporters are hosting a huge variety of events and activities to mark WAD, from animal blessing ceremonies to mass spay and neuter sessions. You could join a peaceful procession, take part in an educational workshop, attend a fundraising concert or visit an animal shelter open day. For a full list of events in each participating country visit the WAD website:

2. Make a donation

Photo by aodaodaodaod / Shutterstock
Photo by aodaodaodaod / Shutterstock

A quick and easy way to show your support for animals is by making a donation to a local, national or international animal welfare or wildlife charity. You could even sign up for a monthly membership scheme to demonstrate your ongoing commitment to its cause.

3. Share the official video

Help spread the love and inspire others to get involved by sharing the official World Animal Day music video. Directed and produced by WAD ambassador and wildlife presenter, Anneka Svenska, the video features a host of animal characters dancing along to the catchy hit ‘What Does The Fox Say?’

4. Join the global selfie wave

WAD is calling on animal advocates everywhere to show their support by taking a selfie with the official WAD logo and sharing it far and wide as part of a social media ‘global wave’. You can either print off the logo or hold up a phone or tablet displaying it. If you want to dress up as your favourite creature, or else persuade some real ones to join you in your selfie, then so much the better. Just make sure you use the hashtag #worldanimalday

5. Sign a petition

Show organisations and governments why we shouldn’t tolerate any form of animal cruelty in the 21st century and add your voice to one or more of the dozens of petitions speaking out for animal rights and welfare, such as the current appeal on to end the cruel Kots Kaal Duck Festival, which uses animals as ‘live piñatas’. 6. Lobby your MP

Photo by Ben44 / Shutterstock
Photo by Ben44 / Shutterstock

If you’d like to go one step further than signing a petition, you could write a letter to your MP, urging them to take action to help maintain or strengthen the laws that protect animals. For example, why not lobby your MP to vote to keep the ban on fox hunting, or to push for an improvement to the laws protecting our ancient woodlands? 7. Volunteer at a local shelter or reserve

Photo by Mila Supinskaya / Shutterstock
Photo by Mila Supinskaya / Shutterstock

  Animal sanctuaries are always happy to welcome volunteers to help look after the millions of abandoned and mistreated animals who come into their care every year, while conservation charities offer plenty of volunteering opportunities for those interested in getting their hands dirty in the management of vital wildlife habitats. Visit The Wildlife Trusts or RSPCA for inspiration. 8. Buy the official gear download Get your hands on some official World Animal Day merchandise produced by to help you remember the day and keep the momentum going. 100% of the proceeds from the World Animal Day 2015 Tees, Totes and Iron-on Transfers will be donated to participating animal charities, along with 15% of proceeds from all other purchases. 9. Recruit a celebrity ambassador  

Celebrity backing is vital to helping spread the messages of World Animal Day and gathering worldwide support for the movement. WAD is encouraging its supporters to contact animal-loving celebrities in their countries and ask them to send an image and message of support to [email protected]

10. Make a pledge

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WAD provides the perfect opportunity for us all to think about how we can make life better for animals through our actions, both big and small. Whether it’s a commitment to fundraise for a wildlife NGO, boycott companies engaging in animal cruelty, or simply to feed the birds in your garden, WAD is inviting everyone to make a pledge for animals and share it on its online pledge board. And if you’re feeling truly inspired, you could even pledge to host your own event for World Animal Day 2016.

Happy #WorldAnimalDay