Animal Heroes given prestigious awards for outstanding work

Friday, 17 October, 2008

(Tuesday 14th Oct) - Twelve animal heroes, including one dog, have received prestigious awards for their outstanding contribution to animal welfare from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The awards ceremony was hosted by Baroness Gale at the House of Lords and presented by IFAW patron, actress and model Lisa B. This year’s honours include awarding Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall ‘Campaigners of the Year’ for their work on factory farmed chickens, along with Jane Howorth who founded the Battery Hen Trust and works tirelessly to improve the welfare of battery hens in the UK.

Mandy the dog received the ‘Animal of the Year’ award after saving her owner’s life twice, and TV vet Emma Milne accepted ‘Vet of the Year’ for highlighting the increasing health issues that affect pedigree dogs and cats as well as her recent work in animal clinics in South African townships.

“These are very special awards and it is great to be able to recognise so many deserved heroes,” said IFAW UK Director, Robbie Marsland. “I hope this will inspire other people across the entire UK to help animals in need.”

Jamie Oliver said: “Thanks to IFAW for giving me this Animal Action Award. I hope that this award inspires everyone to make a genuine difference and try to buy the best welfare chicken and eggs they can afford.”

Other winners include Rebecca Hosking who made Modbury in Devon the first plastic bag free town in Britain and Rachel Hogan who has dedicated her life to raising orphaned gorillas, chimps and other primates in Africa.

Notes to editors:

See below for more details of the winners and the awards that have been given:

VET OF THE YEAR: EMMA MILNE, TV vet from BBC’s Vets in Practice was a key figure in the campaign to end tail docking in dogs in the UK and wrote the Truth About Cats and Dogs, highlighting increasing health problems with pedigree dogs and cats. As a practising vet, she also took a recent tour of IFAW-funded animal clinics in South African townships.

WILDLIFE RESCUE AWARD: SERENA STEVENS runs the Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre in Cirencester, established in memory of her daughter Millie, which receives thousands of calls a year to help sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.

ANIMAL WELFARE CARER AWARD: LIZ WALSH is a Blue Cross Community vet nurse, visiting the elderly, sick and disabled to provide essential veterinary treatment for their pets. Liz’s clients have nicknamed her a ‘guardian angel’ for looking after animals and their human owners.

ANIMAL RESCUE AWARD: BOB WHITTALL runs the Northern Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue organisation in Cumbria, providing home for strays and abandoned dogs as well as rescuing bull terriers from situations of cruelty and neglect.

MARINE CONSERVATION AWARD: After seeing first hand the damage plastic rubbish can do to the beaches and wildlife of a remote Hawaii island, wildlife film-maker REBECCA HOSKING successfully persuaded her home town in Modbury, Devon to become the first plastic bag free town in Britain.

INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE AWARD: RACHEL HOGAN has dedicated her life to raising orphaned gorillas, chimps and other primates in Africa. She manages the Mefou National Park in Cameroon for the UK charity Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund, caring for orphans whose parents have been killed for the bushmeat trade.

YOUNG ANIMAL WELFARE AWARD: After personally receiving the benefit of a Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog visit whilst in hospital, JESS THOMAS registered her own pet Jody as a PAT dog and now regularly visits patients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

LIFETIME DEDICATION AWARD: BARBY KEEL has been looking after unwanted, hungry, abandoned and neglected animals since 1971 at the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary in Bexhill, Sussex. She now shares her home with over 500 animals.

ANIMAL OF THE YEAR AWARD: Rescue dog MANDY has saved the life of her owner Peter Wilson twice: alerting him to a serious fire at the rescue centre and last year taking back rescuers to the fells, where Peter had collapsed after a heart attack during a walk.

CAMPAIGNER OF THE YEAR AWARD: Awarded to three individuals: awarded to JAMIE OLIVER and HUGH FEARNLEY WHITTINGSTALL for their TV campaign to expose the horrific welfare conditions of battery farmed chickens and to persuade the British public to choose free range. JANE HOWORTH, founder of the Battery Hen Welfare Trust also receives the award. Her work is the driving force behind the campaign and she has now rescued over one hundred thousand battery hens from slaughter.

About Animal Action Week

The awards are part of Animal Action Week and this year over 2,000 schools have taken part reaching more than 100,000 children in the UK. This year’s theme is “Beneath the Waves” which educates about the damage plastic bags. Schools are sent an education pack and a 15-minute DVD.

If you would like to nominate someone for an Animal Action Award for 2009 please write to: IFAW Animal Action Week, 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD or visit

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