The aim of World Animal Day is to celebrate animal life in all its forms as well as humankind's relationship with the animal kingdom.
October 4 was chosen because it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi (a saint well known for his love of animals), however the day is not restricted to any particular religion.
The Day was set up in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. Since then it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and is widely celebrated in countries throughout the world. For further information, and ideas and support for celebrating World Animal Day in schools, visit: www.worldanimalday.org.uk.
There are some good animal images from around the world at Boston Globe Big Picture | World Animal Day 2009.