World Animal Day: History, Significance, Themes

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 1, 2022, 9:00

In 1925, cynologist Heinrich Zimmermann first proposed to set aside a day to raise awareness about animals to work to preserve them both in the wild and at home. World Animal Day is thus commemorated on 4th October, which is also the feast day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

This day aims to raise awareness about the impact of human behaviour on animals. The day is also known as "Animal Lovers' Day" or "International Animal Day" since it promotes animal love, care, devotion, and protection via the participation of individuals and organizations dedicated to animal rights.

World Animal Day History

The first World Animal Day celebration took place in Berlin in 1925. An event was organized by Henrich Zimmermann, the publisher of the German animal lovers' magazine "Man and Dog," to promote awareness and improve animal welfare.

The feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, is also celebrated on 4th October. Saint Francis was well-known among Catholics for his extraordinary ability to communicate with animals and other living creatures. In recognition of all Saint Francis has done for animals, certain Catholic parishes have been known to bless pets on this day.

International Animal Day 2021 in India

On 4th October 2021, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) celebrated World Animal Day 2021 at the Kamdhenu Dham Gaushala (Nagar Nigam Gaushala) in Gurugram, Haryana, in the presence of Shri Parshottam Rupala, Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, and Shri J. P. Dalal.

Launch of the AWBI Website

On this occasion, Shri Parshottam Rupala and Shri J. P. Dalal inaugurated the World Animal Day celebrations, and Minister Shri Rupala Ji launched the AWBI website to benefit animal welfare end users.

The minister praised the department's efforts in arranging World Animal Day from the Gaushala campus during the event.

He went on to say that the Indian government is aiming to double the income of our farmers by increasing agricultural and livestock output, as well as increasing milk production by enhancing milk and by-products production.

World Animal Day Themes

Every year, the topics selected to celebrate World Animal Day are changed to reflect global climate changes.

The theme for World Animal Day 2021 was "Forest and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet".

The theme for 2020 was "Man and Dog".

For 2019, the theme was "Life below water bodies: for people and the world."

Although the style of celebrating World Animal Welfare Day differs by country, the goal remains the same regardless of ethnicity, political party, religion, or faith. To foster empathy and compassion for such creatures, recognition and understanding are extremely important.

Increased habitat loss, human-animal conflict, and vulnerability exacerbate the problem, amplifying the importance of this day. Obviously, rather than going through the names of extinct or endangered creatures, we should instead take a step forward to build harmony for the survival of both people and animals.

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FAQs on World Animal Day

Q.1 What is the theme of World Animal Day 2021?

"Forest and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and the Planet" is the theme for World Animal Day 2021.

Q.2 Why is Animal Day celebrated?

Animal Day aims to raise awareness about animals' value in the environment and improve their welfare standards.

Q.3 Who started World Animal Day?

Heinrich Zimmermann, a cynologist, established the day in 1925 to draw attention to animals' situations and begin action to safeguard them both in the wild and the home.