Labor Day for Animals? Why Not?

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally published on August 31, 2014. Do you have plans for Labor Day? Consider including the contributions of working animals, as well.† Animals work, too; donít they deserve to be included in Labor Day to honor their contribution to society? Typical Working Animals and their Jobs

Today we have assistance animals to help the handicapped function more independently. Dogs and even capuchin monkeys and birds have been trained to open doors, retrieve items, turn lights on and off and even microwave food for people with such severe disabilities as quadriplegia.

A pair of rats were approved by the council in Hesperia, California to serve as service animals for a woman with epilepsy.† The rats sit on her shoulders and help in controlling her seizures.

Herding dogs have been around as long as humans have been keeping sheep.† Did you know llamas also herd sheep? Seeing Eye animals include not only dogs, but miniature horses (now included in the ADA), who are trained to lead the blind through terrain. Dogs and other animals have been trained to assist the deaf.† Many animals serve as seeing eye companions for fellow animals, like donkeys Recca and CoStar.

Mini horses like this fellow can become seeing eye pets.

And what about military dogs who fight alongside our brave soldiers?† War horses like Sgt. Reckless helped Americans in the Korean War. A pit bull called Stubby was honored with medals for his courageous fighting alongside soldiers in World War I.† He awoke the men during a gas attack, saving the division and caught an enemy spy by biting him and keeping him on the ground until relief arrived. Stubby was awarded the rank of Sergeant. Police dogs help with crowd control, sniffing out drugs and explosive materials.† They are also trained to find survivors and cadavers from disaster sights. Care2 Blogger Sharon Seltzer writes about ďThe Heroic Dogs of 9/11,” citing “The rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center was the Ďlargest deployment of search dogs in U.S. history,í according to FEMA.” Working Animals With Fewer Rights Other working animals are not as well-cared for, like carriage horses and production animals. Many large cosmopolitan cities consider carriage horses a quaint tourist attraction. The pain and suffering those horses endure day in and day out is abominable. Inhaling fumes from working nose-to-tailpipe in ferocious city traffic is a health risk for even the strongest carriage horse. Danger from noisy and sudden movement can frighten horses to the point of running into oncoming traffic, not to mention the injuries automobiles and trucks cause when colliding with a horse. Being forced to carry people in carriages during extreme weather also takes its toll.† Many animal advocates continue to protest and get laws changed to remove the carriage horse trade in cities. The growing idea of replacing horses with electric vintage vehicles is gaining popularity. Production animals on factory farms have the worst plight of all. Pigs are kept for a lifetime of continuous artificially inseminated pregnancies in gestation stalls so small the animal canít turn around or have any meaningful movement of their bodies. Pigs have the intelligence of a 3-year-old human. Mama pigs end up so frustrated they bite the bars of their cages to the point of losing their teeth.† Many show signs of clinical depression and anxiety. Think about that pain and suffering the next time you have a hankering for bacon. Iíve heard it said that cows are the foster mothers to the human race. Thatís a sweet sentiment until you realize how the cows are also kept pregnant to make them continuously lactate to in order for us to steal their milk. Their horns are burned off without the benefit of anesthesia or painkiller medication. They are fed antibiotics to prevent infection from the deplorable and filthy conditions in which they are forced to live. On concrete floors without the natural ability to graze on meadows, cows become lame and depressed.† Many suffer with a prolapsed uterus and no veterinary intervention. Chickens are made to live in a space smaller than an 8 by 11 inch piece of paper.† Never allowed to spread their wings or participate in natural chicken habits like dust bathing and foraging, the life of an egg-producing chicken is reduced to a mere 16-18 months. Fifteen years is the norm for free-ranging birds, not to mention they are stuck in a large barn without sunlight and built-up chicken excrement so extreme workers have to wear respirators to enter. Turkeys suffer much like the chickens do, living in cramped squalor. They are fed hormones to grow unnaturally large, often to the point they can no longer support their weight while walking. Slaughter is not even close to humane standards. Think about that next Thanksgiving time. Labor Day for Animals Is it so difficult to imagine the animals in our midst deserve to be remembered and honored on Labor Day?† While you celebrate your appreciation for all the service animals, why not commit to getting production animals out of their misery?† Many organizations like Mercy for Animals, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have campaigns to end the suffering of factory farmed creatures. Join their efforts to truly show your respect for all of Godís little creatures. Contemporary Labor Day plans usually revolve around barbeques, swim parties and the like. So this year, when you host a barbecue for Labor Day, how about throwing some veggie burgers on the grill instead of hot dogs and hamburgers? Related Care2 Reading: Check Out What Service Dogs Can Do Shelter Dogs to Help Veterans Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on September 2, 2013.

Photo credit: all photos from Thinkstock

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Magdalena C.
Magdalena C.2 months ago

Thank you!

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

You are so right, Jan N.

Paulinha Russell

Thank you

Magdalena C.
Magdalena C.2 months ago

Thank you!

Jan N.
Jan N.2 months ago

Repeat comment for a repeat article:

Animals don't sign up for any of the work humans force them to do. Call if "Non-Human Slave Appreciation Day" if you want to be honest. It's not like any of the abusers will recognize it and nothing will change for the animals, so giving the animals their own day is meaningless.

Angelo Morella
Angelo Morella2 months ago

Why not a special day for insects and plants?
I think the day of rest was invented because those that it applied to worked "like dogs". Acutally dogs had it good, their owner provided for them provided they met their needs.

Why do we feel the need to have time off? Most of us only work 40 hours per week, some of us work more.

In natural society and when I worked in the opal mining town of Coober Pedy in Central South Australia, a day off was not in the vocabulary.
So why the push for days off? I suggest one follow the money trail. If we had a pets day, that would be an invitation for others to gouge our wallets for treats for the animals which would invariably add to green house gas emissions.

We in the "effluent" west need to consider the impact that our wealth and freedom is having on our priorities and mental health. While we bleat about our lives we spend our time considering the unimaginable. We should all spend a year or two in a third world country to reconsider our priorities.

Rosemary Diehl
Rosemary Diehl2 months ago

I have self appointed myself as a greeter for all service animals in BJs and Costco. As a result I have met some amazing animals and the people the care for. I was especially impressed by a mutt and his mutt who had been in Iraq and had horrible PTSD. As a result of his service dog the soldier was now able to leave the house and because people would speak to him and his dog, no longer felt fearful. These animals deserve recognition as well

Roslyn McBride
Roslyn McBride2 months ago

Obviously all working animals need time off, & not once a year only, but what would blind people (for example) do if they have to manage without their guide dog for a whole day?

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer2 months ago

What an interesting and informative article. No wonder it's been used again and again.

Susie Reynolds
Susie Reynolds2 months ago

Not quite the same thing but we have a 'Take Your Dog to Work Day' on June 27th each year to raise money for various animal welfare charities. It is a day when we celebrate our love for our pets, so marking our gratitude to working animals in some way seems like a decent idea. I quite like the idea of having working animals blessed by their owners in a simple ceremony of some sort, and given special treats...but they should really be treated every day as the special creatures they truly are.