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Launch of National Animal Day in Scotland

LP at statue

Marking National Animal Day in Edinburgh

Marking National Animal Day in Edinburgh

The Lord Provost has visited the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, Scotland’s most famous and faithful dog, to tie a knitted purple poppy on his metal collar ahead of the UK’s first National Animal Day this Sunday (23 August 2020).

The day will honour the service of animals in war and provide a lasting legacy for animals in need. Despite coronavirus restrictions, thousands of volunteers and supporters are busy selling purple poppy pin and knitted poppy badges – the official emblem of the day – across the UK and beyond. Poppies have also been created for horses, dogs and cats to wear to show the importance of animals in war and peacetime.

Speaking about the launch, the Lord Provost said: “Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, John Gray, until he died himself on 14 January 1872. His story has resonated with people over the generations, and he stands as a symbol of kindness and loyalty.

“This special day has been created to highlight the importance of animals and is timely given the significant financial implications that animal welfare charities are facing in the Covid-19 crisis due to falling donations, the closure of charity shops and visitor centres to protect staff and volunteers, and the cancellation of events. Our own Riding of the Marches here in Edinburgh, which takes place every year in September and attracts over 20,000 visitors to the City, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. However, donations raised from the sale of purple poppy badges will be used to make sure of the success of our event next year.”

War Horse Memorial is the organisation behind National Animal Day. Chief Executive Alan Carr MBE said: “While we remember horses, mules and donkeys with our purple poppies our supporters and volunteers have been reminding us that over two world wars tens of thousands of dogs and cats also perished. Their contribution and sacrifice was immeasurable, and yet little is said or done to commemorate the role they played – at home and on the battlefield. Today we redress the balance. We are asking people to wear our purple poppy pin badges with pride and show support for all animals by honouring the service of animals in war to help us provide a lasting legacy for animals in need. And, thanks to kind-hearted knitters from across the UK and the Commonwealth, we are also able to offer three sizes of knitted poppies suitable for equines, dogs and cats.”

Find out more at the War Horse Memorial website.


Published: 21st August 2020