October 4, 2011
World Animal Day
World Animal Day is celebrated each year on October 4. It started in Florence, Italy in 1931 at a convention of ecologists. On this day, animal life in all its forms is celebrated, and special events are planned on locations all over the globe. 4 October was originally chosen for World Animal Day because it is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment. Numerous churches throughout the world observe the Sunday closest to 4 October with a Blessing for the Animals.
However, World Animal Day has now gone beyond being the celebration of a Christian saint and is today observed by animal-lovers of all beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds. Animal blessings are held in churches, synagogues, and by independent Animal Chaplains in parks and fields. Animal rescue shelters hold fundraising events and open days, wildlife groups organize information displays, schools undertake animal-related project work and individuals and groups of friends or co-workers donate to animal charities or pledge to sponsor a shelter animal.