World Animal Day is a global event celebrated each year on the 4th of October. The mission of this social movement is to raise the status of animals and improve welfare standards across the globe. All living creatures, as sentient beings, deserve a high standard of living. Through the actions of individuals, businesses and policies of nations, the lives of animals can be improved. By increasing awareness and educating the public on animal welfare issues, World Animal Day encourages the participation of people across all nations to help fight for social justice and the improvement of animal welfare standards.
Animal Welfare Standards Around the World
Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are classed as ‘grade A’ countries, having the best standards of animal welfare (Kiprop, 2018). Grade A countries value animals equal to humans, forbidding activities that cause pain, harm or exposure to humiliation or anxiety, with serious penalties for pet owners that inflict acts of cruelty or negligence (Kiprop, 2018). Sadly, in other parts of the world including in Africa, Asia and the Far East, animal welfare issues need to be urgently addressed (World Organization for Animal Health (OIR), 2005). Animal welfare standards are affected by a number of factors across world such as public awareness and concern, cultural values and religious (World Organization for Animal Health (OIR), 2005).
In 2018 Australia was ranked as the 10th best country for animal welfare, receiving a ‘C’ score for the treatment of animals (Kiprop, 2018). The state and territory governments set animal welfare standards through the administration of legislation. There are a number of issues in Australia that have strict codes of practice imposing the prevention of animal cruelty, including the culling of feral animals, the welfare of animals in research such as medical testing and animals in entertainment which involves greyhound racing, horse racing, animal circuses and zoos and aquariums (Department of Agriculture , 2017). Information about the regulations and standards of animal welfare around these issues can be accessed via the Australian Government Department of Agriculture website.
What You Can Do to Help
There are many actions you can take as an individual to help improve the standards of animal treatment (Diaz, 2017).
- Volunteering your time to an organisation that cares for animals.
- Participate in peaceful protests to encourage government action on animal protection legislation.
- Eating humanely can be achieved by those that include animal products in their diet, by choosing higher welfare products and making a conscious effort to support the humane treatment of livestock (e.g. RSPCA approved products).
- Spreading awareness and fundraising for a cause you care about that helps fight animal cruelty.
- Becoming a foster career for animals that may not be comfortable in the shelter environment, or if you are ready for a longer commitment, choose the adoption option. There is an abundance of animals waiting for a loving family.
- Speaking out against animal cruelty by informing the RSPCA of anything you may witness.
Positive Outcomes of World Animal Day
World Animal Day is proving to be an effective social movement, gaining positive results all around the world. It is celebrated through a number of successful events including educational and awareness events for both adults and children, pet adoption and shelter open days, fundraising events for organisations that care for animals and educational workshops for owners of working animals.
As a result of the World Animal Day movement, the introduction of animal protection legislation in the Sudanese parliament has been one of the greatest achievements of the Sudanese Animal Care & Environmental Organisation (World Animal Day, 2015). The use of animals in education has been reassessed, with the use of alternative methods being successful at the Cairo University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Egypt (World Animal Day, 2015). Doing your part to spread awareness about the issues of animal welfare can help introduce more effective animal protection laws and a safer world for all living creatures.
Department of Agriculture . (2017, September 5). Animal Welfare Issues. Retrieved from Australian Government Department of Agriculture : http://www.agriculture.gov.au/animal/welfare/animal-welfare-issues
Diaz, A. (2017, January 2). Seven things you can do to help animals in 2017. Retrieved 09 26, 2019, from https://www.rspca.org.au/blog/2017/seven-things-you-can-do-help-animals-2017
Kiprop, J. (2018, November 28). Best Countries For Animal Welfare. Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/best-countries-for-animal-welfare.html
World Animal Day. (2015). Celebrate World Animal Day | 4 October. Retrieved 09 26, 2019, from https://www.worldanimalday.org.uk/about_us
World Organization for Animal Health (OIR). (2005). Animal Welfare: Global Issues, Tends and Challenges. . Scientific Technical Review, Vol. 24 (2), 1163 – 1164.