2011 Event Reports Australia, New Zealand, Oceania

Here are a selection of reports and images of some of the World Animal Day Events that took place this year. On behalf of the animals with whom we share this planet, I thank everyone who participated and helped to make animal welfare issues front page news around the globe!
Location: AUSTRALIA – Lismore, NSW
Events: Dogs Picnic Day
Hosted by: Animal Rights & Rescue Group (ARRG)
Our ‘Dogs Picnic Day’ was held on October 9th at our centre. Prior to the event we sent invitations to our supporters and new doggy families to attend as the feature of the day was a ‘Parade’ of dogs previously adopted from ARRG, all wearing animal-patterned bandanas made by our volunteers.

Well, it was a beautiful day weather wise and the animals arrived in large numbers, all were so well behaved and seeing the parade was every emotional. People attended with dogs adopted 12 years ago, 6 years ago and one man who adopted 20 years ago, before our organisation was officially registered. Sadly his dog had passed away, but it was good to know we get the right homes for our dogs and cats. We are fussy to the annoyance of some people, but animals come 1st and people 2nd.

ARRG was founded in 1994 as the first No-Kill, foster care organization. By 2006 we had raised sufficient funds for a very basic office fitted out in sheds on local council land. Sadly the demand grows each year, especially since the financial crisis, and we take every opportunity to hold events for fundraising and to hold adoption days. Australia lags far behind the UK and USA, in large because of the lack of animal welfare money spent by the large organisations on desexing programs.

Location: SAMOA
Events: Awareness Activities
Hosted by: Samoa Animal Protection Society
On 6 October we celebrated our 4th World Animal Day in Samoa. The occasion was fantastic with many activities, and also great participation from the public. The Society members and Board members all got involved to help ensure the event was successful. We were also lucky enough to gain an excellent response from local companies who kindly sponsored this this big day for the Society.

The official opening ceremony was a short service led by Rev. Reupena Leau followed by opening remarks from the Chief Executive Officer for the Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP), Leiataua Kilali Leiataua, and also words of encouragement from the APS President Moana Clarke.

Pesega Fou Primary School, Robert Louis Primary School and Faleata College attended our event and the students enjoyed the various activities such as a picture drawing competition, answering questions and there was also a good opportunity for them to watch the vets who were doing a fabulous job neutering dogs and cats.

We also organized activities on the 4th and 5th October but our main event took place on 6th October in front of the Government Building, Apia. All the media was there to interview us about World Animal Day and find out the reasons why we were celebrating it in this this way.

In previous years, we have celebrated World Animal Day at our clinic in conjunction with the Ministry of Fisheries but, as interest is increasing, we decided to organise a celebration event in the more central location so the public could get involved more easily.

Everyone enjoyed the celebration and we received lots of positive feedback. The Samoa Animal Protection Society is looking forward to celebrating World Animal Day again in the coming years. Overall, I can say in my language the day was very MANAIA. Setu Timoteo, Humane Educator.

Location: AUSTRALIA – Melbourne
Events: Blessing of the Animals Service
Hosted by: University of Melbourne – Trinity College
On Wednesday 5 October, Trinity College Melbourne celebrated World Animal Day and St Francis’ Day with a Blessing of the Animals service, held on the College green.The Venerable John Davis, Archdeacon of Wangaratta and a tertiary member of the Order of St Francis, the patron saint of animals, returned to Trinity as a guest preacher, addressing members of the College, the University of Melbourne and the local Parkville community.

Trinity College Chaplain, the Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, said the Blessing of the Animals service was a wonderful day in the Chapel calendar.

‘The Student Chapel Committee initiated the service three years ago as a means of bringing the College and Parkville communities together; the Committee wanted to encourage people to experience a different style of church and also find a way to honour God’s animal creations,’ Andreas said.

‘Different groups of people – students, adults, children and their pets, of course – are able to see what church entails in an informal and colourful service that reminds us that God is not only here for human beings, but for animals too.

‘We were delighted to be joined by the World Animal Day Australian Ambassador, Ms Pam Ahern, from Edgar’s Mission, accompanied by Polly the pig, Timmy the sheep and Ryan the goat.’ With all good wishes, Andreas Loewe, College Chaplain and Gavan Lecturer in Theology, Trinity College, The Unversity of Melbourne.

Location: AUSTRALIA – Willowmavin, Victoria
Events: Shelter Open Day: All Things Grow With Love
Hosted by: Edgars Mission Farm Sanctuary
As the saying goes, all things grow with love, and that is certainly true for Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary and their World Animal Day celebrations. While World Animal Day is officially October 4, Edgar’s Mission got in early with their World Animal Day event on Sunday, October 2nd, and over 1,000 visitors flocked to Willowmavin’s not for profit haven for rescued farmed animals.

“Everything you see here today” said sanctuary founder and director and Australian World Animal Day Ambassador, Pam Ahern, “is because of one pig, my Edgar. Eight years ago he came into my life and changed it forever. I truly believe that we find our measure in how we treat animals”. Pam is well known for championing the cause of animals so it comes as no surprise that she was selected to be the Australian Ambassador for World Animal Day.

International guests headlined this year at Edgar’s Mission with New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Masson jetting in for the big day. Enthralling his audience with lively tales about the emotional world of animals, he was indeed a crowd favourite along with Virginie Bernhard all the way from France. Virginie gave a heart warming demonstration of what is possible to achieve with horses using empathy, kindness and wisdom, while local Anne Zelvy and her team from Alfoxtron Dog Training gave a lively exhibition of dog agility and training.

As always, the cow pat throwing contest was a hit along with the delicious cruelty free fare. People travelled from near and far, with mother and daughter duo, Deb and Genevieve flying in from Sydney “we wouldn’t miss World Animal Day at Edgar’s Mission for the world” they echoed.

Kyle, JeffreyMasson, Timmy the sheep and Pam Feeding Bambi
Meeting Gretel Miss Pompy enjoyed the day
Pig Tricks

Location: NEW ZEALAND – Christchurch
Events: Vegetarian Expo
Hosted by: Christchurch Vegetarian Centre

New Zealand’s biggest vegetarian event was held on October 9th with a record 5000 people attending. After experiencing a difficult year with the devastating earthquakes and difficulties of a city with no CBD, the loss of our office and all our resources, the Christchurch Vegetarian Centre is proud that the Expo still went ahead and was such a success.

We were lucky that we had perfect weather for the day, not too hot and not too cold. We thought the Expo might be smaller this year with the relocation and loss of a number of businesses due to the quakes, but in fact the Expo was as big as ever, with 41 stalls including 10 newcomers. These filled the main hall with Food Stalls, our own Christchurch Vegetarian Centre community group stalls, Businesses of Interest to Vegetarians including LUSH cosmetics, our local importer of Linda McCartney products and Blue Coconut, who promoted natural refined coconut oil. Then we had a Vegetarian Owned Businesses section and Not-For-Profit organisations. SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation) and Cat Rescue were some animal-themed groups among these.

In addition to the stalls, the Expo featured seven cookery demonstrations and seven workshop presentations on various topics, a Kids’ Zone and a bouncy castle, musical entertainment from DJ Luke Skywalka alternating with Praesto String Quartet, a film room, a sausage sizzle and ice cream sales. There was something to please everybody, the atmosphere buzzed and people seemed very happy.

We hope that our Expo encouraged people to think of animals and vegetarianism. Anna van den Bosch, Events Co-ordinator (images will be added soon).

Location: AUSTRALIA – Queensland
Events: Out With The Dogs!
Hosted by: Animal Welfare League
The Out with the Dogs camp out was held on the weekend of the 30th September/1st October. Over 77 families across Queensland took part by camping out with their dogs to raise money for homeless animals in celebration of World Animal Day. This also included 9 AWLQ staff members who camped at the Coombabah shelter with the current four-legged residents.

As of the 4th of October (World Animal Day) the fundraisers have a total of $6,297.55 through the out with the dog’s website and are still fundraising offline at local sporting meets, family events and around their neighbourhoods.

Location: AUSTRALIA – Balwyn, Victoria
Events: Animal Blessing Service and Vegetarian Picnic
Hosted by: Jamchen Buddhist Centre
Set in the luscious Ruffey Park Lake park, Jamchen Buddhist centre held their World Animal Day with balloons, laughter, glorious weather and about 30 people attended. We were not sure about the weather as Victoria can be rather tricky. But it was perfect as the pictures testify.

International Tibetan Buddhist teacher, His Eminence Zimwock Rinpoche held the third Animal Blessing and included prayers for the carers of animals, the animal refuges that save their precious lives and a special prayer for deceased animals. The conditions for animals around the world was raised and everyone prayed for their cessation of suffering. He spoke about how loyal our animals are and that we are here to care for them as they give human beings so much love in return.

Zimwock Rinpoche personally blessed each animal, they were all dogs on this day, and presented them with blessed food pouches and a special cord to wear. Prayers written in English were handed out so everyone could participate.

A vegetarian meal was requested to highlight the saving of animals lives. World Animal Day balloons helped people find us and provided extra colour. Children played happily with the animals. Not one growl was noted – from the dogs that is!

Our event lasted from 10am till 1pm. Thank you World Animal Day for helping us, we look forward to 2012. Peace and Happiness, Annie.

Location: AUSTRALIA – Sydney
Events: Endangered Species Photographic Exhibition
Hosted by: Humane Society International Australia
We held a photographic exhibition at Customs House at Circular Quay in Sydney, displaying some of the world’s most endangered species. It is actually still running and hopefully our images will have a home at this prestigious location for a little while longer as it would help promote awareness of our message to the Australian public:

In Australia and around the world, nature continues to be pushed to the brink. Ever expanding human populations and exponentially increasing demands of finite natural resources, squeeze wild animals into ever smaller spaces. Many, many thousands of species are threatened with extinction, and even in the areas where they are still able to survive and find shelter and food, demand for their skins and body parts ensures the death toll continues to rise. The photos shown by Humane Society International in the Customs House display area, remind us of the wild beauty gradually being lost to humanity, but also that it is not too late for us to act. We hope that you will enjoy these beautiful images and take home the message that YOU can help them survive or find out more on www.hsi.org.au!

The images you see here are the ones being exhibited.

Location: COOK ISLANDS – Rarotonga
Events: Shelter Open Day
Hosted by: Esther Honey Foundation
The Esther Honey Foundation celebrated World Animal Day slightly delayed on October 14th in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

In an effort to encourage the local community to get actively involved with caring for the animals of the Cook Islands, we held an Open Day and welcomed all to come down and check us out. Offering the only veterinary services and animal care in the entire Cook Islands, one of The Esther Honey Foundation’s most important roles is in community education; even the best intentions are not sustainable without the local community support.

Approximately 100 children turned up to have their faces painted as their favourite animal, to play games: as educational as puzzles of the Five Freedoms of Animals and ’Find Your Herd’ animal noises, all the way to as silly as Tug-O-War), to be fed ice lollies in the hot weather and cuddle as many stray kittens as they could handle.

Adults too flocked in, intrigued to see what we do and how we do it, getting some advice regarding basic pet care, meeting our in-patients and hearing their stories, guessing the weights of our tiniest kitten and most obese dog, and of course getting in on the kitten cuddling also.

The all-volunteer team at the clinic had created wonders in the kitchen; gingerbread puppies, kitten cookies and marshmellow men all went down a treat, as well as some generously donated local baked goods. These appeared to not be enough for the children, who quickly took to climbing our coconut trees for extra treats at the top. Locally donated raffle prizes were also a great success among the tourist attendees.

Adults, children and volunteers alike had a blast, and learnt a significant amount about caring for animals and the importance of offering them veterinary treatment. We also successfully rallied support and awareness for our ongoing programs of humane population control, free desexing and free treatment for owned and stray animals alike, as well as the continuing Esther Honey Education Program in the Cook Islands.

We hope all World Animal Day events were as successful and enjoyable as ours.
Sincerely, Jessica Moore-Jones, BVMS, MRCVS.