Published : Wednesday, 4 October, 2023 at 12:00 AM Count : 690
World Animal Day is observed every year on October 4 across the world. The day is aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence between animals and humans and making this world a safer place for animals. It also reminds us of how animals enhance our lives.
The day is also known as 'Animal Lovers Day' because it encourages love, care, affection, and protection of animals by supporting individuals and organisations who promote animal rights.
World Animal Day helps bring people together to increase awareness and improve education worldwide so animals can live the lives they deserve.
Awareness days like World Animal Day help to highlight animal protection as a priority issue of significant importance as there is a deepening global crisis facing animals everywhere.
Every year, 80 billion land animals, including chickens, pigs, and cows, are farmed. This vast number does not even include the billions of aquatic animals who are locked in underwater factories - out of sight and very much out of mind. On factory farms, animals live in unnatural environments and endure extreme psychological and physical suffering.
Wild animals' habitats are also destroyed to grow the crops to feed billions of farmed animals. At least 1.6 trillion wild animals are exploited as commodities for fashion, medicine, entertainment or as pets. Tigers, bears, elephants, gorilla and many other species experience unimaginable suffering through people's actions every year. Every day we don't act, thousands more wild animals are poached or farmed and sold into the global multi-billion-dollar trade.
Biodiversity plays a crucial role in the animal kingdom and animals help maintain the Earth's ecosystem. Each animal plays a significant role in preserving the balance of the natural world through its activities.
Henrik Zimmermann, a German author, initiated this day on March 24, 1925, in Berlin, Germany. The event had over four thousand participants. Later in 1931, it was officially recognized as "World Animal Day" during the presentation at the International Congress for Animal Protection held in Florence, Italy. Bangladesh also observes this day in various ways.
From unicellular organisms to diverse multicellular creatures, the animal kingdom encompasses a wide range of species worldwide. Animals typically rely on other organisms for their survival. Sometimes, they face extinction due to their own actions or natural and human-induced causes. In Bangladesh, some of the endangered species include the globally famous Royal Bengal Tiger and elephants.
In Bangladesh, the Sundarbans, a unique mangrove forest, used to be the habitat for a significant population of Royal Bengal Tigers. Due to deforestation and environmental changes, these tigers are disappearing rapidly. They are not only threatened by habitat loss but also by poaching for their meat. Moreover, humans are encroaching on their habitats, leading to conflicts.
On the other hand, elephants are large, magnificent animals. The illegal trade of elephant tusks in the international market is a profitable business. As the human population increases, the encroachment on elephant habitats is causing these animals to lose their homes. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) data from 2016, there were 210 to 330 elephants in Bangladesh. The border areas shared with India and Myanmar are crucial corridors for the movement of these elephants. However, due to the influx of Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar and other parts of Chittagong division, these corridors have been disrupted. As a result, 67 elephants have been stranded, facing severe food and water shortages.
The severe food and water crisis is affecting not only wild animals but also domestic and well-cared-for animals in various ways.. Dogs, like silent sentinels, also provide protection to humans. In the past, Dhaka city authorities used inhumane methods to control the dog population, but in 2012, the High Court ruled that killing dogs indiscriminately was inhumane. As an alternative, the government has pledged to control the dog population. Furthermore, the 2019 Animal Welfare Act Section 7 states that no animal can be killed or harmed without a valid reason.
Additionally, after gaining independence in 1971, Bangladesh's founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, issued the "Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation and Security) Act" in 1973. His commitment to wildlife conservation is evident in this law.
It is essential to remember that if the forest thrives, both animals and humans will thrive, and nature will thrive. Poachers and smugglers endanger wildlife, and they must be punished. Therefore, on the occasion of "World Wildlife Day," we must unite to love and protect animals, take steps to prevent wildlife-related crimes, and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. We must ensure this love for animals for our own well-being.
The writer is a student, Department of Zoology , University of Chittagong