Thursday, 3 October 2013


“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” - Immanuel Kant
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. Since then, World Animal Day has become a day for remembering and paying tribute to all animals and the people who love and respect them. It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, with no regard to nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.

There are many things that we can do on World Animal Day in order to show our support. A simple way of helping stray animals is to donate tins of cat and dog food to local shelters, which may also of course lead to adopting a stray pet. Schools can organise trips to shelters and farms. In the sympathetic workplace, why not try a “Bring Your Dog to Work Day”? You could organise an animal related quiz night to raise money for animal charities.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Victoria is a non-government, community based charity that works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. RSPCA Victoria was established in Melbourne in 1871. Since this time, the RSPCA has become Australia’s leading animal welfare charity.
Across the state, the RSPCA’s community services include the work undertaken by the Inspectorate, Animal Shelters, Clinics and Education teams. The RSPCA operates ten animal welfare shelters in Victoria, providing refuge and care and where possible, offering more than 35,000 animals each year a second chance. RSPCA Inspectors work to protect animals from cruelty, investigates 14,337 estimated reports, prosecutes offenders and rescues animals from dangerous situations.
The RSPCA Education team contributes to prevention strategies by influencing over 12,000 young people about the value and importance of animals in our lives. The RSPCA works tirelessly to educate the community regarding animal welfare and to advocate for improved legislation. Legislative improvements to protect animals have been achieved at both state and federal levels, thanks to the continued lobbying of the RSPCA.
As a not-for-profit organisation, the RSPCA relies on community support to care for “all creatures great and small”. Only 3% of the RSPCA’s operating expenses are supported by a grant from the Victorian State Government, so it is truly an organisation funded by the generous Victorian community. You can donate to the RSPCA here.

Needless to say animals affect our lives in all sorts of ways, both directly and indirectly. In our increasingly urbanised societies, most people’s experience of animal interactions come from owning a pet. Research dating from the 1980s suggested that pet ownership could have positive benefits on human health. Benefits ranged from higher survival rates from heart attacks; a significantly lower use of general practitioner services; a reduced risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis in children exposed to pet allergens during the first year of life; a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease; and better physical and psychological wellbeing in community dwelling older people.
While people do not own pets specifically to enhance their health, they value the relationship and the contribution their pet makes to their quality of life. Over 90% of pet owners regard their pet as a valued family member. The death of a pet may cause great distress to owners, especially when the pet has associations with a deceased spouse or former lifestyle.

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