WATCH: CEO Azzedine Downes on commitment and trust in a vision for animals

IFAW President & CEO Azzedine Downes discusses some of the challenges and opportunities we face in helping to protect the welfare of animals around the world.

I am so moved by the messages of encouragement our supporters have sent me since taking over leadership of the International Fund for Animal Welfare about six months ago. In my sixteen years here, it’s amazing to me how far the organization and the animal welfare movement in general have come.

Thanks to actions taken by citizens like you all over the world to close seal pelt markets, the cruel Canadian commercial seal hunt is dwindling every year. The African elephant poaching crisis has made international news and inspired global action on for the protection of that majestic species. And the United Nations and governments around the world are beginning to recognize that dogs and cats are part of community life, that improving conditions for our closest animal companions helps communities thrive.

It is clear to me that we can make a difference.

We celebrate many small victories when we rescue animals from cruelty and disasters. But really changing the ways in which societies interact with and views animals takes time.

All of us who care about animals must stay committed and focused if we are to achieve our vision of a world in which animals are respected and protected.

I am truly grateful to have the exceptional staff at IFAW and our compassionate, dedicated supporters working alongside me to build a better world for animals in our own communities and around the world.

I take very seriously the trust you have placed in IFAW, and I am committed to ensuring your generous labor and support will make an impact for animals.

Thank you.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime