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Lorna Trumbull, a marketing executive in New York City, considers it kismet that she learned about Be Kind to Animals Week and the Best Friends Animal Society on the same day back in 2007. After reading in a local newspaper about the American Humane Association’s annual weeklong celebration of the bond between humans and animals, she heard about the Best Friends volunteer program from the National Geographic channel.
“I wanted to acknowledge Be Kind to Animals Week in an active way, so I took a trip to Best Friends in Utah, where I got to spend five days caring for and playing with shelter cats,” says Trumbull. “I met people who are totally devoted to making the lives of animals better, and I left feeling so hopeful. I’ve made it an annual tradition -- this year will be my fourth visit.”
Below, learn more about the Be Kind to Animals Week tradition and ways in which you can recognize it.
The American Humane Association -- not to be confused with the Humane Society -- was founded in 1877 to protect animals and children from abuse and neglect. Today, they work with child and animal protection agencies around the country to develop policies, legislation and training programs to carry out their original mission.
Be Kind to Animals Week originated in 1915 to promote the association’s philosophy: that a world in which we treat animals well is a nicer place to live. For the last 95 years, Be Kind to Animals Week has taken place in the beginning of May. (This year’s date is May 2 to 8.)
Giving your cat an extra portion of catnip certainly makes you a participant in Be Kind to Animals Week, but the Humane Association thinks on a broader scale. It promotes teaching the world at large to care for animals in their homes and communities -- from butterflies and raccoons to house cats and hamsters. “The end goal is to create a more compassionate and responsible society,” explains Heather Black, a spokesperson for the organization.
How You Can Be Kind
Lorna Trumbull discovered Best Friends sanctuary and the joys of giving love to cats without their own homes in part because of Be Kind to Animals Week. She now has her own ideas about improving the tradition. She says, “I think it should be every day.”
Darcy Lockman is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to The Daily Cat. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone.