Animal welfare & conservation heroes from around the UK set to receive awards

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Haatchi and Owen

Animal welfare heroes are set to receive prestigious awards for their outstanding work from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The awards take place tomorrow, Tuesday 23rd October at IFAW’s annual Animal Action Awards. The ceremony will be hosted at the House of Lords by Baroness Gale with the awards presented by Queen legend Brian May.

This year’s winners include former Olympian Fiona Oakes, from Essex, who runs a sanctuary for 400 rescued animals, 365 years a day without having taken a holiday or even gone for a meal out in 16 years. Receiving awards alongside Fiona will be young vet Vikki Fowler, from Lancashire, who is honoured for rescuing and rehabilitating neglected horses and Julie Hinks from Hampshire, who cares for and rehomes tortoises, many of which are rescued after being smuggled into the UK illegally.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We are delighted to be able to highlight the fantastic work done by all the winners of IFAW’s 2012 Animal Action Awards. We believe their stories are truly inspirational and hope that their example will encourage others to do all they can to protect animals. They are all true animal heroes.”

This year’s animal of the year award goes to Haatchi, an Anatolian shepherd dog who suffered horrific injuries after being tied to a railway line and hit by a train. Haatchi survived the amputation of a rear leg and his tail and was adopted by Colleen Drummond, her fiancé Will Howkins and his seven-year-old son Owen, in Hampshire. After forging an amazing friendship with Owen, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, the family decided his gentle nature would make him an ideal Pets as Therapy dog to work with amputee soldiers and seriously ill children.

Also honoured is Kate Williams, a volunteer pet foster carer with Bolton-based Paws for Kids, which provides specialised support for women and children pet owners in the North West who are fleeing domestic violence. Helen Griffiths, from Dorset, receives an award for her tireless rescue of animals, particularly dogs, over the last 20 years, rehabilitating traumatised animals and finding them new homes. Elsewhere, Grace Yoxon, from the Isle of Skye, is recognised for her global work in otter conservation.

Campaigner of the year award goes to Lorraine Platt from Surrey for her work encouraging Conservative Party members to speak out in favour of the UK ban on hunting with dogs and other animal welfare issues through ‘The Blue Fox: Conservatives Against Fox Hunting’. Sheila Stewart from Mold, North Wales, receives an animal rescue award for rescuing thousands of birds and animals over more than 30 years.

An international campaigner award will be given to Sigursteinn Masson, for his work publicly opposing whaling and encouraging whale conservation in his native Iceland.

More about the Awards & IFAW
Animal Action Awards, sponsored by the Sunday Express newspaper and supported by Nat Geo Wild, are part of IFAW’s annual Animal Action Week which takes place around the world involving thousands of schoolchildren who are motivated to get involved in animal welfare. This year’s Animal of the Year Award is sponsored by Animal Friends, www.animalfriends.org.uk

If you would like to nominate someone for an Animal Action Award for 2013 please write to: IFAW Animal Action Week, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats.

www.ifaw.org

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