Donkey and foal in field
Donkey and foal in field

World Animal Day 2017

World Animal Day

To mark World Animal Day on 4 October, we are raising awareness about the essential role working animals play around the world, supporting the livelihoods of 600 million people in the poorest communities. Read more about World Animal Day.

Our research shows that more than 80 per cent of UK dog owners treat their pet like a member of the family, and will spend more than £18,000 on them over their pet’s lifetime. Working animals overseas are just as valuable to their owners, especially as many rely on them as their only source of income. Unfortunately, animal owners in developing countries often don’t have the money to give them the treatment and care they desperately need.

SPANA’s Chief Executive Geoffrey Dennis explains:

‘The UK is undoubtedly a nation of animal lovers and pet owners are prepared to go to great lengths – and costs – to ensure their companions enjoy a happy and healthy life.

“It’s fantastic that pets are generally treated so well in this country. But, sadly, it’s often a very different situation in developing countries, where working animals such as horses, donkeys and camels, can lead short, painful lives without the care, compassion and vital vet treatment they need. These animals urgently need our help.’

Donate to help working animals today

Our celebrity supporters explain why animals are so special to them

Whether they are working animals, support animals or family pets, animals and people have a special connection. This World Animal Day, our celebrity supporters explain what makes animals so special to them.

Chris Packham portrait

Chris Packham

‘Animals bring me so much joy – I couldn’t imagine my life without my dog Scratchy. It’s easy to forget however, how they bring so much more than just companionship to millions of people around the world. Working animals in developing countries are relied on to help desperately poor families survive. That’s why I’m supporting SPANA and their work to build a better future for working animals on World Animal Day.”

‘Scratchy sleeps on my bed. I like that, I like listening to him snoring or shifting about in the dark, then I know he’s safe. The trouble is that when it’s really cold he wants to get in the bed… and have it all to himself. I get kicked out of the way and end up with a crick in my neck and an aching back. Still, he’s worth it, his happiness means more to me than my own!’

Deborah Meaden portrait

Deborah Meaden

‘On World Animal Day, I’m remembering not only all the beloved pets around the world, but also the working animals that communities in developing countries depend on for their livelihoods. I urge everyone to support SPANA’s work to help improve the quality of their lives, giving them the same care and attention that we give our animals in the UK.

“My cat thinks he is invincible… I was watching him the other day crouching as if to pounce on a mouse in the horse field when, to my amazement he leapt at the horses who, startled, high tailed it around the field. He may be small but he is mighty (and he has me as back up!)’

Louis Smith portrait

Louis Smith

‘All animals deserve our compassion and care. In the UK, most people see their pets as treasured members of the family. But it’s a different story for many working animals in developing countries. These hardworking animals contribute so much, but they are often forgotten and neglected. On World Animal Day, please support SPANA and help ensure that working animals get the respect and the essential veterinary treatment they so urgently need.’

Jake Humphrey portrait

Jake Humphrey

‘We all know that most pets in the UK, like my labrador Myrtle are treated well and enjoy their lives. But sadly, around the world, too many animals live a life of suffering. Working animals in developing countries in particular often have a very hard existence – they toil day in, day out, and can face appalling conditions. It’s a world away from my lazy Lab snuggled up by the Aga knowing their next big job is either to entertain the kids or be fed. Therefore, it’s important that more is done to improve their health and wellbeing. Please show your support for these animal heroes on World Animal Day.”

‘Myrtle is generally a great Lab. Lazy, friendly, cheeky… but most of all greedy. Basically the typical Labrador! However, on one our many walks on the Norfolk Coast last year we decided to stop for a pub lunch, and being tropical Brits we sat outside so Myrtle could be with us. I put her lead around the table leg…but the lead was longer that I anticipated. Barely a nanosecond after my lunch had been put down by the waiter, Myrtle was off the floor, on the table and my sausage and mash was gone. The fact it was piping hot seemed to cause her no problems…and due to her full belly the walk back to the beach was incredibly slow! And, yes, the pub charged me for another meal!!!’

Gemma Atkinson portrait

Gemma Atkinson

‘This World Animal Day, please support SPANA and help ensure that working animals in developing countries receive the same kindness and care as our own much-loved family pets.’

Pam St Clements portrait

Pam St. Clement

‘On World Animal Day, I am supporting SPANA in their work to improve the lives of working animals worldwide. These hardworking horses, donkeys and camels support the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people but their reward is often a short, painful life in terrible conditions. They deserve so much more and it is vital that they get the food, water, shelter, rest and access to veterinary care that they need. As well as their owners receiving support and the knowledge that a healthy, happy animal will work better, live longer and be a greater economic asset.’

Donate to SPANA to help the world’s working animals