Wednesday, December 28, 2011

St Francis of Assisi Day

Family pets are being honoured on World Animal Day, which coincides with the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Breaking bread with birds and walking with wolves, St Francis taught creatures not to torment the townsfolk and in return the villagers would share their food, an expression of unity between man and beast that is still relevant today.

Buddhists believe that animals can feel pain and happiness as strongly as humans, and are only different in their intellectual ability. Humans can be reborn as animals, and animals as humans, forging a living link between the human and the animal kingdom.

As people bring their pets to church to be blessed and animal-assisted therapy is looked at by the NHS, it’s clear that the human-animal bond is a close connection that needs to be cherished. But with shops stocking pet costumes in preparation for Halloween, and dogs on the ‘cat’walk for London Fashion Week, Huffington Post UK wonders, have people gone too far?

The RSPCA says when dressing your pet it's important to remember that "functionality must always come before fashion
and the clothing must have a clear welfare benefit."

It doesn't dissuade owners from dressing animals but advises that items of clothing should be the right shape, size and of a suitable material so that it does not stop the animal from moving and behaving normally.

It has a much sterner warning for dyeing animals. A spokesperson said:

"The RSPCA has serious concerns about people dyeing their pets’ fur and thinking that such behaviour is acceptable. The animal welfare charity would like to point out that dyeing an animal’s fur could have dangerous and potentially fatal consequences."

"Our pets are living creatures and dyeing them in this way sends out an extremely worrying message that they could be viewed as novelty accessories rather than as intelligent, sentient animals."

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