The 15th International Companion Animal Welfare Conference (ICAWC 2013), hosted by Dogs Trust International, U.K.’s largest dog welfare charity, was held this week from 14-16 October in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona with its coastal location, Mediterranean climate and famous and unique contemporary art made it not only an interesting location but extremely relaxed for a conference such as this.
Aanifeira’s President Victor Barros and myself had the pleasure of attending this conference for a 3rd time where Clarissa Baldwin, O.B.E., Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, welcomed a huge amount of over 300 delegates from around the world. The program introduced speakers giving talks and workshops covering an extensive range of subjects which included: international animal welfare, veterinary diseases, shelters and fostering, welfare assessment and quality of life for animals, hoarding and the problems it brings, community actions in using animals as a tool in therapy programs for the lonely and young offenders, euthanasia, ask the expert – animal behaviour, digital ideas, lobbying in Europe, how to create a happy and productive workplace and of course the issue of continued importance of spaying and neutering in the world today.
The wealth of information given by the international speakers was just amazing and for many non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) such as Aanifeira, to have this sort of feedback and backing from Dogs Trust International means that far more can be accomplished and that most importantly WE ARE NOT ALONE in our work!
Together with these lectures, several international guest speakers came and shared some of their amazing success stories in helping animals such as: dog welfare in Roma gypsy communities in Slovenia, network saving and rehoming the mistreated greyhounds and podencos of Spain with the program Galgos112, creating the Mdzandanda Animal Clinic in the large and troubled township of Khayelitsha on the Western Cape of South Africa plus the largest TNR program for cats and dogs in Portugal which is run by the NGO Animais da Rua and has today neutered over 12,000 animals throughout the country! Such inspirational and heartwarming stories where local communities are willingly joining the NGO’s and sharing in animal welfare and enjoying the benefits that animals can bring.
Each year also Snip International has a stand at the ICAWC conference and they donate to shelters and rescue groups, along with MDC Exports (dedicated to animal welfare and involved in veterinary, animal rescue and humane control) and Cats Protection (UK charity dedicated to rescuing and rehoming stray, unwanted or homeless cats and educating people about cats and cat welfare), specialist equipment for use in trap/catch-neuter-return programmes. Aanifeira was very lucky to receive a pair of Animal Handling Gauntlet Protection Gloves from MDC Exports that are designed to restrain an animal in difficult circumstances.
Our special thanks to Dogs Trust International for giving, not only ourselves at Aanifeira, but all the NGO’s and people around the world the opportunity of networking and sharing this kind of information which is of the utmost importance for everyone to continue their dedicated work in animal welfare.