Interfaith Association of Animal Clergy
Deliberate harming of animals is in direct opposition to teachings in all of the major world faiths. Caring for animals is our global spiritual responsibility. If we can teach this ethic to all of our children, animal abuse and suffering will someday become a distant memory.
In what will look like a scene from the popular family movie, Evan
Almighty, scores of Animal Chaplains around the world will bless hundreds,
perhaps thousands of animals in many different settings on October 4th 2007.
At a pet cemetery on the east coast, to a city park in the desert, to a
sandy beach on the west coast, they will walk in on a leash, fly in on a
harness, and slither in their cages. Barking, mewing, bleating, mooing,
whinnying and purring will join human voices in hymns of praise and worship.
That day is World Animal Day, a day dedicated to honoring, blessing, and protecting animals all over the world. World Animal Day was founded at an ecologist's convention in Florence, Italy in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4th was chosen as World Animal Day because it is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic Church holiday which is often celebrated with an annual "blessing of the pets". Since then, it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and has been widely celebrated around the world. Churches and synagogues in many faiths traditions have adopted "Pet Blessing Day" or "World Animal Day" in increasing numbers every year.
The Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains prepares for World Animal Day by referring its members and visitors to the official World Animal Day website. The site provides ideas and resources to individuals, families, community groups and congregations everywhere. People can post their pledge for volunteering at a World Animal Day event. In addition to blessing pets, volunteers will work at animal shelters, zoos, rescues, and other nonprofit organizations. Dogs will be walked, cats will be brushed, horses will be groomed, and fish will benefit from freshly cleaned tanks. Donations will be given to animal welfare agencies, and pets will be adopted. School children will collect pet food to be donated to charities, and bake sales and car washes will be held as fundraising events. Veterinary clinics will hold free spay and neuter days, or may offer to vaccinate pets at no charge. All over the world, on the very same day, the well-being of animals will be on the minds of millions of people.
Interfaith Chaplain Nancy Cronk feels a day honoring animals is very important at a time when the headlines speak of animal cruelty such as athlete Michael Vick's alleged ties to illegal dog fighting. Animal Chaplains would like everyone to know that every major faith endorses the responsible stewardship of the earth and all of its creatures. "Deliberate harming of animals is in direct opposition to teachings in all of the major world faiths. Caring for animals is our global spiritual responsibility. If we can teach this ethic to all of our children, animal abuse and suffering will someday become a distant memory".