World Animal Day: Give a voice to the voiceless

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Robert Badura
CONTRIBUTOR

An illustration of various animals with a pink background
“It is our responsibility to help protect the planet and all the living creatures that share the earth with us.” Illustration by Mars Nevada/the Gateway

It is our responsibility as human beings to help protect the planet that we call home and all the living creatures that share the earth with us. World Animal Day, celebrated annually on Oct. 4, is a special opportunity for everyone who cares about animals to make a difference and create awareness for the rights of animals. The main goal of this day is to raise the status of animals in order to improve the welfare standards all around the globe.

This global event dates back to 1925 in Berlin, Germany. The celebration was created by Heinrich Zimmermann to raise awareness and improve the lives of all animals on a global scale. World Animal Day continues his legacy.

Building the celebration of World Animal Day calls people to take action—to do more now to make the future better. All throughout history, movements like this have allowed ordinary people a chance to participate in politics and are key in creating change – think of movements like the women’s suffrage movement and the civil rights movement. The lives of all animals are determined and affected by the actions of us as individuals, corporations and nations all around the world. Animals don’t get a voice or a say, and it is up to us to speak for them and give a voice to the voiceless.

Unlike other animal celebrations, this particular day embraces all animals and their unique concerns in each country.

“Through increased awareness and education, we can help develop a compassionate culture which feeds into legal reform and social progress to make this world a fairer place for all living creatures,” according to the World Animal Day website.

This celebration is always working towards lasting change and ways to make contributions towards improving the lives of animals worldwide, in the present and in the future.

There are so many different ways that people can participate in World Animal Day and continue to advocate throughout the rest of the year. One could go to a local animal shelter, like the Nebraska Humane Society, to volunteer, walk the dogs, take care of them and give them much needed love and attention. You could also attend a fundraiser or create an event to highlight endangered animals or animals in your area that need help. And for those individuals that like to protest or advocate, you could attend a walk or talk to your local government in order to make that change.

I myself have always been an animal advocate – working at shelters, protesting in front of puppy mills and fostering dogs. Since I started fostering dogs in 2013, my family and I have rescued over 35 dogs and put them in proper homes with people who love them unconditionally. It is not as hard to become an activist as many people might think, and small steps can lead to big changes. If you are interested in fostering dogs or possibly adopting a dog of your own, check out Midwest Dog Rescue Network.

Another important thing to keep in mind when deciding if a dog or cat should become a part of your family is to make sure you adopt and don’t shop. What this means is don’t purchase an animal from a store, rather adopt from your local shelter or from a foster group. Animal rights affect creatures all over the globe, including animals that might already live in your home.

Even though World Animal Day 2019 has come and gone, try and find ways to carry on its message to improve the lives of animals year round.

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