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An almighty celebration of the animals

An almighty celebration of the animals

Sunday October 4 will see a frenzy of animal celebrations as two important happenings fall on the same date – the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of animals, and World Animal Day, honoured by 100 countries around the globe.

In Auckland the events will be recognised with a number of activities, spearheaded by the joyous Blessing of the Animals service being held in St Matthew in the City commencing at 1pm.

Bob Kerridge, Executive Director of SPCA Auckland, who organises the service, describes it as the most inspiring annual event of the year. “Imagine that wonderful historic church filled to capacity with people and their animals, all singing joyous hymns of praise to rattle the rafters,” he said. “The cacophony of sound reaches a pitch almost equal to that of a rugby cup final”.

“Around 80% of people who live with companion animals consider them to be a member of the family, and this unique service gives us the opportunity to gather as complete families to give thanks for our lives with them. At the same time we remember those animals less fortunate than our own who suffer extreme cruelty or who are endangered,” says Bob.

Amongst the many activities though the service all animals are individually blessed before leaving the church. “The blessing seems to improve their behaviour … even if for only a little while,” says Bob.

World Animal Day, which globally acknowledges all animals, aims to raise the status of all species with a view to improving their welfare in every country.

Bob Kerridge, in his capacity as New Zealand Ambassador for the International event, comments “for this one special day the global power of people united in one common cause, that of a love and respect for all animal life, sends a robust message around the world.”

A walk up Auckland’s main street by people and their animals, as well as welfare representatives of endangered species, recognises World Animal Day before the Blessing service begins.


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