Barcelona companion animal conference more than just slides and coffee

Sometimes, you wonder though if your effort at these types of events resonates…Recently, I attended the 15th International Companion Animal Welfare Conference (ICAWC) in Barcelona.

This year, the three day annual event, organized by the Dogs Trust, gathered over 300 delegates from 39 countries.

The conference was a great opportunity for IFAW to promote both its Companion Animal and Animal Action Education programmes.

A slide presentation about our Humane Community Development work and our new Cats, Dogs and Us theme was played during coffee breaks in the conference room.

Sometimes, you wonder though if your effort at these types of events resonates…A few days after the conference I received a very nice email from a woman named Marian.

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In 2002, Marian and her husband founded a small animal welfare charity, the Máté Foundation, in a small town in Hungary.

The Nagymaros community has a population of 4,500+ inhabitants and 1000 dogs, hundreds of roaming cats (mostly feral) and other animals. The Foundation provides subsidised (and often free) veterinary treatment to its animals. They also run a monthly educational programme in the local primary school and organise special events for World Animal Day.

Marian wrote to me saying “I have attended several ICAWC conferences and in the most recent one last week in Barcelona, I received the IFAW leaflet whose splendid work we became aware of when living in the UK.” She added “Would you kindly send me your multilingual DVD which would be of great help to us in our endeavor to educate Hungarian children to protect, care and respect all animals?”

The story and example of the Máté Foundation in Nagymaros showed me how our educational materials can benefit a community in educating its future generations to better care for its animals.


For more information about IFAW efforts to improve the welfare of animals around the world, visit our campaign page.

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters