Ceva Animal Welfare Awards 2019

The Ceva Animal Welfare Awards were inaugurated in 2012 to celebrate the achievements of those who go ‘above and beyond’ to better the lives of animals around the world.

The winners for 2019 were announced at a glittering ceremony held in Birmingham in April, on the eve of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association congress. The eight winners – drawn from vets, veterinary nurses, farmers, charity workers and volunteers in the UK and overseas – received their awards from the ceremony’s joint host, television presenter and animal lover Matt Baker, and retired vet, animal welfare champion and chairman of the award’s judging panel, Chris Laurence.

“It is the second consecutive year that I have presented the Ceva Animal Welfare Awards and once again I am touched and humbled by the individuals and organisations who work tirelessly to enhance and promote animal welfare both in the UK and abroad to make a real difference to the lives of animals,”

Matt Baker

The winners of the Ceva Animal Welfare Awards 2019 are:

Farmer of the Year

David Finlay, from Rainton Farm, Castle Douglas, Scotland, winner of the Farmer of the Year Award in association with Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I.). Rainton Farm is home to the Ethical Dairy. Over the past twenty years, David has been exploring new ways of producing milk and beef in a more ethical and sustainable way and showcasing this to the visiting public. This culminated in 2013 in a ground breaking new dairy which combined harnessing a more natural system of dairy farming with cutting-edge technology. A major innovation is the shift to letting cows rear their calves for 5-6 months – conventional dairy farms separate the calves after just a few hours. David reports that the result is happier, healthier cows and calves and that the system has proven to be successful, profitable and much appreciated by the farm’s many visitors.

Farm Educator of the Year

James Griffiths from Taynton Court Farm, Gloucester was named Farm Educator of the Year in association with the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS). James runs a large dairy farm with more than 1000 cows but in terms of animal welfare he does not think that large is an issue: “we pride ourselves on the health, comfort and happiness of our cows.” He invests heavily in education of his team believing that quality welfare results from training people and then allowing the to implement what they have learnt. Once a month his vet visits to give an overview of the herd and afterwards joins James and his team for a meeting on some aspect of dairy farming, such as calf rearing. A recent visiting dairy farmer paid James the ultimate compliment by saying: “if I was a dairy cow, I’d like to live here.” James’ approaches to dairy farming and animal welfare are widely watched and commonly copied by other farms, so the impact that he has had on dairy cow welfare nationally has been enormous.

Vet of the Year Award

Hannah Capon was announced as the Chris Laurence Vet of the Year Award, in association with the Veterinary Record, for her work on canine arthritis. Hannah is passionate about improving the lives of dogs which have arthritis: 80% of dogs over 8 years of age have the disease although young dogs can also suffer from this painful condition. Hannah believes that chronic pain in dogs does not get the attention it deserves and that it is difficult to adequately deal with a dog and its owner within a standard veterinary consultation. She therefore conceived and establish Canine Arthritis Management (CAM). This online resource aims to educate owners with a focus on evidence-based medicine, helping to set them up to deal with a disease process that can require years of careful management. The judges recognised that Hannah’s passion for this subject was unrivalled and that she has helped thousands of dogs have better lives thanks to CAM.

Veterinary Nurse of the Year

The Veterinary Nurse of the Year Award, in association with Agria Pet Insurance, went to Rachel Wright founder of TOLFA – Tree of Life for Animals – a UK-registered charity that focuses on providing healthcare to India’s ownerless animals and animals belonging to low-income owners and also in educating communities on animal welfare. After working as a veterinary nurse in the UK, including at the Royal Veterinary College, London, Rachel travelled the world for 8 years volunteering her skills wherever they were needed. Then, in 2005, she realised her dream and opened a veterinary hospital and rescue centre in rural Rajasthan. Today, Rachel and her team treat thousands of animals each year. After many years at the ‘veterinary coalface’, the judges recognised that her passion is still as strong as ever; nothing gives her greater pleasure than releasing animals after they have been treated, loved and fussed over at the TOLFA hospital.

Charity Team of the Year

The accolade for Charity Team of the Year, awarded in association with the PDSA, went to the Ebony Horse Club, Brixton. The Club was established to teach young, disadvantaged children how to look after animals and so the Ebony team strive to ensure their health and welfare standards are incredibly high. They consider it is vitally important that the horses are kept happy as happy horses make for happy children. The team at Ebony, led by David Fleming, together have a wide range of experience that enables them to bring a holistic approach to caring for the horses, not just addressing their physical needs but also taking care of them mentally and psychologically. This includes giving the horses regular 3-4 week breaks away from the stresses of city living and work.

Charitable Contribution of the Year

Fiona Gammell from Wicklow Animal Welfare, Ireland received the Charitable Contribution of the Year Award in association with Blue Cross. Irrepressible Fiona, who admits she has been rescuing animals for more years than she cares to remember, started young: when she was only 12 years-old she spent the money she earned washing dishes in the local hotel on getting her neighbours dogs and cats neutered. Today she runs her own rescue centre. Operating a ‘no kill’ policy, any animals that cannot be rehomed she keeps herself. Fiona considers that overbreeding of dogs is a major problem. Much of her work focuses on animals owned by the traveller community, a sector of society that many people preferred not to work with. She is especially proud of her success in persuading members of this community to have their male dogs neutered.

International Cat Care Welfare of the Year 

Ian MacFarlaine, currently chief inspector of the Bermuda Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, received the International Cat Care Welfare of the Year Award for his work all around the world. Ian’s passion is education. As with his current post in Bermuda, he really likes to work with organisations which have a real training need, spending 2-3 years working with local teams to build their knowledge so that they can take on the work when he moves on and hopefully improve on it. One thing he has learnt is that not every cat needs rescuing; just because a cat is living outdoors or on the street, that is not necessarily a welfare issue. He was especially pleased to receive the award because he considers that cats tend to be the poor relation compared to dog welfare; he appreciated the recognition of the necessity of welfare work with cats too.

Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare

Finally, the award for Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare, in association with Your Dog and Your Cat magazines, was presented to Professor Jacky Reid, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow and CEO of the innovative research company, NewMetrica.  Jacky and her multi-disciplinary team of renowned academics from the University of Glasgow have dedicated over 20 years to researching pain and quality of life measurement in pets.  Her work into these vital areas at the University of Glasgow and, since retiring from the University, as part of NewMetrica, is innovative and widely respected and she works tirelessly to broaden its reach for the benefit of the welfare of animals.

“The vision, dedication and hard work demonstrated by each and every award winner is truly outstanding,” commented, Cuneyt Seckin, managing director of Ceva Animal Health UK and Ireland.  “We had a brilliant evening celebrating our remarkable winners and would like to congratulate each and every one of them on their fantastic achievement.”

Nominate your animal welfare hero, including in the new category of Outstanding International Contribution to Animal Welfare, presented by the Ceva Santé Animale global team at cevawelfare.com

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