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  • Jace Shoemaker-Galloway

World Animal Day: Celebrating animals of all shapes, sizes & species

Oct. 4 is World Animal Day (WAD), an annual event that celebrates animals and the important role they play in our lives. Not to be confused with World Farm Animals Day which occurs October 2, WAD began in 1931 at an ecologists' convention in Florence. October 4 was selected as World Animal Day because it is also the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals and environment.

As the human population continues to grow, animal habitat continues to diminish and species continue to decline and vanish. Global warming, over hunting and fishing, pollution and poaching contribute to threaten species. According to the IUCN Red List, more than 4,200 species are now critically endangered or endangered.

WAD encourages individuals, groups and organizations to get involved and highlight the importance of animal welfare issues around the world. In honor of the annual "holiday," activities and various events are held around the world. The day serves as an important reminder that all animals are to be celebrated, honored and protected.

How to Participate in World Animal Day

  • Today is the perfect opportunity to visit your local animal shelter and adopt an animal. Not only will you provide a forever home for the animal, but will save a life too.

  • Offer to volunteer at your local shelter.

  • Help stomp out the puppy mill trade.

  • Stand up to illegal dog fighting.

  • Switch to a no-meat lifestyle.

  • Donate to a local animal charity or shelter. Local shelters are always in need of food, litter and supplies.

  • Stay up-to-date with events on the WAD Facebook page.

  • View the World Animal Day slideshow presentation with over 30 amazing photographs.

Whether you are a cat-person or a dog-person, or prefer a few fish, animals play such a pivotal role in our lives. Besides companionship, animals provide an abundance of loyalty, laughter and unconditional love.

Today is also International Toot Your Flute Day, National Vodka Day and National Taco Day. Find out where to get a free taco!

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