animal-lovers gathered beneath the hooves of the city’s beloved scrap metal giraffes to celebrate World Animal Day.
Marked annually on October 4, the day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, the event aims to raise the status of animals and demonstrate the important part they have played and continue to play, in the Capital.
Organiser Stuart Wilson wished a “thousand welcomes” to the crowd who had come to witness the “blessing” of the giraffes outside the Omni Centre.
Mounted police from nearby Gayfield station flanked the giraffes on horses Kilmarnock and Harris.
World Champion piper Jennifer Hutcheon piped ahead of a speech by Deirdre Brock MP.
She addressed the crowd by saying: “As an MP it is my job to give a voice to those who don’t have a voice in parliament, but at the same time I can advocate for those who don’t have voices at all such as those with four legs, or wings or fangs or webs or even ridiculously long necks.
“Mahatma Gandhi once said, the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
“The desire to build a kinder, fairer more passionate society does not end with Homo sapiens.
“Our world is all the richer for the richness of nature within it and as the dominant species we have a duty to respect all the creatures which we cohabit this planet with. And it’s also good for us, our mental health is improved when we can stop to laugh at the daftness of a dog or admire the beautiful plumage of a parrot.
“I am only too aware that human activities can create some pretty awful situations for farmed and wild animals, pets too, that ranges from the dark world of puppy smuggling, now Europe’s third most valued smuggled item after guns and drugs, to the cramped, dark battery cages or the illegal trappings of birds. There is a lot to be done.”
Mr Wilson, of the One O’Clock Gun Association, said it was imperative that Edinburgh continues to celebrate its close association with animals.
World Animal Day was started as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. First celebrated in 1925, it has grown to become one of the biggest days of the year in both traditional and social media.
Last year, it trended globally on Twitter when millions of animal lovers used #WorldAnimalDay to raise awareness of opportunities to help animals.