World Farm Animals Day (WFAD is coordinated through FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement), and was created to shed light on the plight of animals in food production and mourn the more than 65 billion chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, and other animals slaughtered annually for global consumption.
Yes, you read that correctly: over sixty-five BILLION animals.
WFAD is celebrated on or around the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who is best remembered for his compassion. Gandhi once said, "I feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants."
This day is intended to expose and memorialize the suffering and deaths of these innocent creatures. Supported by such organizations as Mercy for Animals and Compassion Over Killing, WFAD focuses on outreach: making people aware of the cruelty inherent to factory farming.
WFAD is observed worldwide. Participants host events such as leafleting and information tables, as well as vigils, marches, and more creative outreach measures. Pay-per-view video stations offer anyone the opportunity to watch a few minutes of an anti-slaughter documentary in exchange for a small prize. At a “cage-in,” a volunteer sits inside a small cage, and passers-by are also welcome to go inside, to visually demonstrate the cramped conditions of laying hens.
If you are not near an event, there are still plenty of ways to be part of the movement to end farmed animal cruelty. Some activists write letters or ask public officials to issue proclamations against the cruelty inflicted on farmed animals. Some sign petitions or help the cause with donations, while others simply refuse to support a system of suffering and don’t eat meat or dairy.
With numerous websites, blogs, and books dedicated to the health and ethics (and yummy recipes!) of eliminating animal products, it has never been easier to be a vegetarian or vegan.