This week marks World Animal Day, which takes place each year on October 4th, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of animals and the environment. First established in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species, the mission of World Animal Day remains hugely important:
“To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology. Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.”
You can find out much more at www.worldanimalday.org.uk
The Great British public has historically supported animal welfare very well, and animal charities receive millions of pounds in donations every year. They receive no state funding for their important work, although the Treasury does exempt donations from income tax in the form of Gift Aid. However, a study by the Charities Aid Foundation found that animal welfare organisations received only a very small proportion of total donations – just 7% of the amount donated to charities in the UK in 2014. One reason for this relatively low support, despite the British famously being a nation of animal lovers, is perhaps because of the sheer number of charities competing for funding. With so many options available it’s tempting to give your hard-earned money to the big players that everyone knows.
Of course, any money donated to causes helping animals is to be celebrated, but it feels important to acknowledge the smaller, regional and local charities struggling to do great things in our own neighbourhoods. Perhaps anyone considering giving money to an animal charity, either as a regular gift, a one-off donation or through a legacy in a will, might also consider undertaking a little bit of research to identify the charities that make the biggest difference to the health and welfare of animals. In this way we can ensure that any money we do give is working the hardest for our four-legged friends.
If you would like to find out more about charities close to you and make a donation in honour of World Animal Day, you can find details of all the UK’s registered charities here.
Some of the most practical help you can give is not financial. Perhaps you have a spare hour to:
- Walk a dog?
- Deliver leaflets?
- Help out at the charity’s shop?
- Hold a jumble sale or cake bake to raise much-needed funds?
- Instigate a petition and circulate via social media?
- And don’t forget the collection points for pet food and toys at many supermarkets – next time you’re doing the shopping, why not pop an extra tin of food in the trolley and donate it to an animal in real need?
However you choose to help, your contribution will go a long way to helping give animals a better deal – which of course is important at any time of year, not just around World Animal Day.
Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support
Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.