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Children from all over Bolivia’s capital celebrated their love of animals and learned more about animal welfare at a fun World Animal Week event, hosted by WSPA and member society Animales S.O.S.
The two organisations teamed up to mark World Animal Week 2009 by holding events at a well-attended street fair.
On Sunday 4 October, people from all over La Paz gathered to enjoy local culture, local food, and – for this week only – see over 100 local children enthusiastically celebrate animals.
And the winner is … the River Caiman, made of recycled newspapers! This child won the equivalent to 500 bolivianos (nearly £45) worth of school kit
Local schools were invited to participate in an animal costume competition, and as caring about animals also means caring for the environment, the children were asked to use recycled materials to create costumes of indigenous animals.
The creativity was outstanding: 45 children took the costume challenge, and many more entered a drawing competition, the winner of which received a year of free veterinary services for their pet at the Animales S.O.S clinic.
As families and onlookers enjoyed the carnival atmosphere and watched the children show off their costumes, Animales S.O.S told the crowd more about the animals the outfits represented – many are vulnerable to illegal trading, a common problem in Bolivia.
A serious educational message underpinned the fun: animal welfare information was displayed on posters throughout the fair and read over loudspeakers.
Read more about WSPA’s education work >>
The children made it clear that they care, adding handprints to an Animals Matter to Me banner
To ensure the day’s messages lasted longer than the costumes, children also received a WSPA bag containing colouring kits, easy-to-read pet care leaflets and information about Animals Matter to Me, a campaign asking the world to recognise that animals can feel and should be protected.
Animales S.O.S volunteers also painted faces and handed out flyers to passers-by, helping people of all ages understand what they can do to prevent cruelty.
The street fair was followed by a second event promoting animal welfare, this time held in Bolivia’s national congress.
WSPA regional director Luis Carlos Sarmiento presented the benefits that good animal welfare can offer the animals, people and environment of Bolivia, and argued the case for national backing of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
The presentation, which received good media coverage, was timed to precede a congress discussion on animal protection law, a discussion WSPA is keen to contribute to.
Read more about what went on during World Animal Week …