‘The Greatness of our Nation…

To commemorate ‘World Animal Day’ – 4th October 2017

World Animal Day’s Mission is to ‘create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings.’ What saddens me deeply is that we, the supposed most intelligent cohabiters of this planet, have the need to make such an obvious statement and embark on such a necessary Mission.

Thankfully, in line with the objectives shared by World Animal Day, the UK government has publicly declared that animals ARE sentient beings. But just what is the definition of a Sentient Being?  Well, according to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary it is  ‘A creature that can suffer and feel pain; mostly animals and humans.’

Hold the front page… animals suffer and feel pain – as Basil, our Australian Labradoodle pooch, would undoubtedly concur if, during play time, I accidentally trod on his paw!  And although I know that the jury is still out for some sceptics, surely for the vast majority of us, there is already a big tick in the compliance box that animals do, indeed, fulfil the ‘sentient’ criteria.

Hmmm, mulling this notion over, perhaps the sentiment behind the Mission could be interpreted in the broader sense and that is for the desire to create a world where animals are always treated with RESPECT!

I’m sure that I am just one of many animal lovers that never tire of appreciating the beauty and strength of the bond developed between animals and those care-givers who quite clearly respect and view their counterparts as sentient beings.

Having watched many heart-warming documentaries that examine the depth of connection forged between the most unlikely of relationships – man and lion, woman and wombat, child and gorilla as well as families co-existing with hippos, elephants or polar bears, one cannot fail to appreciate that there is undeniably an inexplicable human-animal bond in each of these extraordinary alliances.

Although these accounts originate from different regions of our planet, distance knows no bounds. One common denominator that unites these interspersed humans (apart from a heartfelt desire to connect with an animal on a deep, some would say, spiritual level) as shared by many esteemed animal champions; Dr Jane Goodall – British Primatologist, Damian Aspinell – Conservationist and Kevin Richards – ‘The Lion Whisperer’ is that they all believe, unequivocally, that love and respect are the basis for forging mutually rewarding co-sentient relationships.


Closer to home, those charities that also appreciate the foundation required to build mutually rewarding ‘domestic’ partnerships such as ‘Guide Dogs for the Blind’, ‘Pets as Therapy’ and ‘Veterans With Dogs’, each recognise the extraordinary effect assistance animals can have upon the lives of those people who, without this animal connection, could feel unwanted, isolated and lonely.  Jacqui Danning, a recipient of ‘Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’ shares the basis of the respectful relationship between herself and her Cockerpoo…  ‘Heidi helps enormously to alleviate the stresses that I experience on a day-to-day basis.  She is trained to alert me to sounds such as the doorbell, telephone and smoke alarm, and our bond and connection is deep. It goes way beyond our training and into the emotional and sensitive side of our partnership.’

So what about our regular pets?  Well, only yesterday, my husband swooped Basil up into his arms and as the bundle of fluff nuzzled into the crook of his neck, Bryan audibly sighed,  ‘Ooh, I needed that welcome’… I literally witnessed the stresses and strains of his day just melt away before my very eyes.

Like many households enjoying a mutually rewarding relationship with their pets, our home is filled with energy and love for our completely nutty, ever-expanding, affectionate little boy who spontaneously offers cuddles to each and every guest crossing our threshold.  Basil simply brings such joy and light into our world – he enriches our life.  I, too, feel uplifted each and every time we embrace and he reciprocally adores receiving my affection.

It would seem, therefore, that where love and respect exists between humans and wildlife, assistance animals or, indeed, our common-or-garden pets… we can all be touched by our co-sentient beings.  All we have to do is open our hearts, appreciate the connection and reap the rewards.

However, without mutual respect this broad spectrum of relationships simply wouldn’t be able to flourish and, as such, enable positive, life changing outcomes for those fortunate enough to experience such a profound connection.  Surely, in return for our animals’ display of unconditional trust and their positive contribution to the human race, we should value and hold our fellow cohabiters in the highest possible regard? To consistently and willingly treat our fellow sentient beings with nothing less than they deserve and that is with the utmost love, kindness and, primarily… Respect.

Gandhi insightfully proclaimed… ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’  The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to implement laws protecting animals and so, surely, now is the time to once again lead the way with renewed, compassionate determination.

Together, I believe, we can make a difference – to become a voice for the voiceless by highlighting, through awareness, the immeasurable benefits that we, as humans, receive when always treating animals with respect.  In turn, helping to make this world, brimming full of great nations, a better place for our animals… and in the process, creating a better world for all mankind too.

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To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals.  It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.  Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.


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