A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Hooray for Ricky Gervais and Ireland!

Guest post by Leslie Smith, Editor-in-chief of Dogtime

Brilliant, Ricky Gervais!

I’ve been a devoted fan since the original version of The Office. But even if you don’t love his humo(u)r, you’ve got to respect Gervais’s partnership with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

In large areas of Africa and Asia, fear of rabies leads to the widespread and brutal killing (strangling, poisoning, electrocution) of dogs and puppies. But the WSPA is aiming to save these animals from an agonizing death with a program called Collars Not Cruelty. It works this way: The WSPA provides rabies vaccinations to at-risk dog populations, and then outfits the animals with a red collar — a signal to the general community that they won’t be spreading the disease.

Says Gervais, “I support this vital effort, standing with WSPA to ask governments and communities everywhere to choose collars – not cruelty – in the fight against rabies.”

Thank you, Ricky Gervais, for taking time out from preparing to host the Golden Globe Awards (and myriad other projects) to lend your voice to those who have none. And welcome to the growing list of funny, fearless men including, Richard Pryor, Howard Stern, and Jon Stewart, who take animal welfare seriously.

And in other news from across the pond, Ireland’s country-wide ban on puppy mills is in effect! Referred to as “puppy farming” on the Emerald Isle, the practice became illegal as of January 1, 2012. Two pieces of legislation — the Welfare of Greyhounds Act and the Dogs Breeding Establishments Act — now mandate humane conditions for breeding animals and their offspring. Failure to comply with these new standards will, according to authorities, result in "harsh penalties."

I’m not rushing to turn in my U.S. passport, but I love what I’m hearing from the other side of the Atlantic. Jolly good.