The first annual World Animal Day took place in Venice, Italy in 1931. In Australia, it is the not for profit organisation Edgar’s Mission who are at the forefront of promoting the ideals of World Animal Day through events such as World Animal Day Festival, to be held on Friday October 4th at Federation Square, Melbourne. Inspirational Australian Test cricketer, Peter Siddle is the official 2013 Ambassador for Be Kind to Animals Week. 

- Children develop an awareness of the impact of human activity on environments and the interdependence of living things.

(Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. p29)

- Sustainability education is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action.

(Sustainability; Cross Curriculum Priorities. In the National Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities are embedded in all learning areas.)

‘My love of animals began at a young age but it wasn’t until early last year that I was awoken to the truth about factory farming and the other astonishing measures of cruelty that goes on behind closed doors and hidden from the eyes of the general public. Until then, I was never aware of the extent that humans will go to for profit and to benefit themselves at the expense of an animal.’ Peter Siddle

According to Pam Ahern, founder and director of Edgar’s Mission, early childhood is the ideal time in a child’s development to acknowledge the contribution of animals in every facet of life. ‘It is the first time in a child’s life that they learn true responsibility,’ says Pam. It is also the perfect time to speak to children about pets and have open discussions about farm animals and the impact of humans on animals living in the wild.

World Animal Day is important for raising awareness of endangered animals, and of how animals contribute to humans. For four years Edgar’s Mission have organised a week-long celebration the Be Kind to Animals Week to run each October.

Pam believes that real generational change in the treatment of animals begins in these early years. ‘The central idea is that how we treat animals can help how we treat each other. Humans are a part of the animal kingdom and how we treat fellow animals gives a good indication of how we treat fellow human beings.’ Pam is a passionate advocate for humane treatment of all animals. Pam has over 60 acres of land, with 250 rescued animals.

There are endless possibilities for Be Kind to Animals Week to be included in all educational settings. ‘I would really like the children to personalise the experience,’ says Pam. ‘A good focus would be on children storytelling,’ Pam believes this would allow the children to talk about a special animal in their life. ‘Most children will develop a strong emotional connection to their animals.’


 Three of the cute residents of Edgar's Mission. Used with permission.

For Edgar’s Mission, Be Kind to Animals Week comes from a lifelong love of animals and a deep respect for the contribution animals make in everyday life. Pam hopes that Edgar’s Mission’s leadership in animal welfare will see Be Kind to Animals Week and World Animal Day recognised throughout Australia. ‘Never before has the treatment of animals been more important, particularly in Australia,’ says Pam.

When Pam spoke about the Be Kind to Animals Week and World Animal Day, there was concern about a creeping apathy towards this significant global issue. ‘That is the greatest pressure to change, the apathy. Too many people question ‘what can I do?’’

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Key Outcomes for Early Childhood that can be targeted with a whole centre focus on Be Kind To Animals Week:

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world

  • Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation
  • Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners

  • Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation,  confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity
  • Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving,  inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating
  • Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another
  • Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place,  technologies and natural and processed materials

About Edgar’s Mission: Pam Ahern, Founder and Director of Edgar’s Mission, is a key person behind the Australian celebration of World Animal Day. Its vision is simple and elegant.

A vision for a humane and just world: Edgar’s Mission Inc, is not for profit organisation that seeks to create a humane and just world for humans and non-humans. We offer sanctuary to farm animals in need while working to expand the public’s circle of compassion to include all animals. We endeavour to achieve this through education, advocacy and empowerment and promote compassionate and cruelty free living. Our mission is simple, our mission is kindness.

Statement of Purposes:

  • To provide shelter and direct care for homeless, abused, injured or abandoned animals.
  • To find permanent homes for mistreated and abandoned animals and to promote adoption through education and example.
  • To promote compassion, understanding and respect for all animals. To promote responsible and humane treatment towards animals in our community through the provision of advice, education and information.
  • We will do this by acting to the highest ethical standards we know through non-violent means emulating Gandhi’s words “We must be the change we wish to see”.
  • For a better world for us all.


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Our resident experts at Educational Experience have outlined a number of tasks for early childhood educators and educational resources that can foster a love of animals and promote the ideals of Be Kind To Animals Week and Edgar's Mission.

For babies: