by Photo by Amy Humphries via Unsplash

National Animal Rights Day — an annual event that honors the billions of animals killed each year for human food, clothing and experimentation — is coming to San Diego for the first time, organizers said today.

The event is set for 1 p.m. on June 5 at Mission Bay Park, located at 2688 E. Mission Bay Drive, and will be one of 85 such ceremonies worldwide, including one in Los Angeles.

Organized by the non-profit “Our Planet — Theirs Too,'' the demonstration “is intended to show the public first-hand the results of our society's brutal treatment of animals and to commemorate the 56 billion animals who are killed every year for food, their fur and skins, laboratory tests, and entertainment,'' according to organizers.

The activities will kick off with a public requiem ceremony in which dozens of volunteers will stand in unified formation showing posters of real animals who died at the hands of humans. The ceremony is meant as a mass memorial service for the billions of animals who die every year, and will include speeches, spoken word, songs and large-scale audio-visual presentations.

The second part of the event is a celebration, in which participants and the public are invited to hear from members of the community about what inspired them to become animal advocates.

Plant-based drinks and snacks will be served.

During the event, The Declaration of Animal Rights will be unveiled and will be available to sign. The scroll pronounces the rights of all animals and bears thousands of signatures from people around the world, in multiple languages.

Aylam Orian, the 52-year-old Los Angeles actor who founded NARD in 2011, told City News Service last year that “all forms of mass-confining,
abusing, and then mass killing of animals are detrimental to human health, to the planet, and of course, to the welfare of these trillions of animals. They have rights of their own, which are no different than the basic rights that humans claim to have."

Orian — whose credits include "Stargate Origins,'' and the CBS shows "NCIS: Los Angeles'' and "Code Black'' — credits a 2010 trip to Madrid with inspiring him to form the NARD movement. He saw the group Animal Equality conducting a small, silent demonstration with laptops showing the deaths of animals at factory farms to passersby, and a light went off. 

He started doing small video demos of his own in New York City, but he felt they weren't affecting enough people. Then in December 2010 he saw Animal Equality's larger-scale demonstration in Madrid's Plaza del Sol on International Animal Rights Day, a ceremony that includes the bodies of dead animals.

That prompted Orian to gather various animal rights groups in New York for a meeting, including PETA and Mercy for Animals, wondering “How can we
join forces and create one big day like this, like in Spain, where we leave our differences aside (and) everybody harness their energy toward this one goal of representing animals?'' he explained in a 2017 interview with the Green Party's animal rights committee.

Orian's goal is to expand NARD's profile until it becomes an annual presence in the public consciousness.

"The ultimate goal is that this will become the Memorial Day for animals in every city. Just imagine if every city around the U.S. or the world had a recognized national animal rights day … if it were a part of the culture and everybody knew about it, just imagine the impact that would have — animals getting their own day where everybody thinks about them, commemorates them,'' he said in the 2017 interview.

"Hopefully one day when we won't eat animals it will really just serve as a memorial day just remembering what we used to do to the animals, like Holocaust Day in Israel, which that's the function of it — remembering what happened and 'Never Again.'''

More information can be found at

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