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Holidaymakers can help animals in need with new charity

A NEW animal charity is to be launched at the end of this month to help thousands of sick, starving and abandoned animals across the world – with the help of animal-loving British holidaymakers.

The charity, named Animals Worldwide, has been formed by Suzy Gale, wife of Tory MP Roger Gale, former chairman of the All-Party Committee for Animal Welfare and a long-time campaigner for animal welfare in the UK.

Animals Worldwide is being supported by notable organisations including Dogs Trust, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, The Kennel Club, Wood Green Animal Shelters, SNIP International & CATSNIP.

In a civilised and modern world images like that of the starving street dog pictured recently in Sicily, have no place. Animals Worldwide has been established to assist in the worldwide endeavour to bring such cruelty to animals to an end.

Mrs Gale explained: ‘Animals Worldwide also recognises the value of working and farm animals to the developing world and, therefore, the need to promote the care and welfare of such animals.

The larger and internationally recognised animal welfare organisations are doing sterling work but are not well-placed to give hands-on support to such smaller projects.

‘There is, therefore, a gap in the provision of care for, particularly, feral and stray cats and dogs and unwanted and discarded equines. The relationship between the economic welfare of many families and their working animals (mules, donkeys & horses) and livestock (cattle, pigs, goats, sheep & chickens) is explicit. If animals suffer and die, humans suffer, starve and die.’

More recently, the charity has also examined, at first-hand, the need to support those engaged in the welfare of working animals and their contribution to very many communities throughout some of the poorest countries in the world.

Mrs Gale adds: ‘The case for support in terms of veterinary care and education - husbandry and the recognition of animals as sentient beings - is self-evident. Sadly, neither governments, aid agencies nor the public have widely recognised this case and, once again, there is a gap in the provision. Without seeking to ‘re-invent the wheel’ or to duplicate administration or effort it is this gap that Animals Worldwide has been founded to fill.

‘We also believe that an on-going educational programme is essential both for young people in schools and colleges - in the hope that future generations will view animals as sentient beings requiring respect and attention - and for the local veterinary services.’

Animals worldwide uses as its guide the words of Jeremy Hulme, Chief Executive of SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) ‘For far too long there has been a mind-set amongst those involved in emergency relief response which results in little value being placed upon the role of working animals and livestock. Helping animals and people are not mutually exclusive activities.’

With this stark fact in mind, Animals Worldwide will work to raise political awareness, within governments and NGOs, of the importance of making provision for working animals & livestock alongside other emergency relief and aid programmes.

Animals Worldwide also recognises the value and scarcity of scholarship programmes that enable young veterinary graduates from developing countries to spend time in French, British and other university veterinary schools. There is no doubt that the skills, enthusiasms and cultural attitudes exchanged can play a major part in the short and longer-term endeavour to improve working animal welfare and husbandry. Animals Worldwide will seek to promote such scholarships and help to raise funds to provide for them.

Holidaymakers who take pity on starving and abandoned animals in typical holiday countries can also help, says Mrs Gale. ‘Animals Worldwide also seeks to build relationships with the tourist industry in order to harness the eyes, ears and energies of the holiday making and travelling public to identify both good and bad practice.

‘It is clear from the reports of tourists returning to the UK from overseas destinations that there is a keen interest in animal welfare and related issues and that experiences can literally make or break a holiday.

‘Animals Worldwide believes that it is therefore in the interest of both the tourist industry and of animal welfare that we recognise and seek to exploit a very significant opportunity to make real progress. With the co-operation of the tourist industry Animals Worldwide would like, when appropriate, to offer welfare-friendly gradings for resorts and hotels. On the time-honoured principle that ‘one person can make a difference’, Animals Worldwide believes that the co-ordinated dedication and enthusiasm of those already working for animal welfare worldwide and the vast travelling public, the ‘one people’ who care, can be helped to mobilise as an enormous and effective resource.

Animals Worldwide is now applying for registration as an independent charity and is seeking the active sponsorship of major animal welfare organisations, suppliers to the pet and veterinary industries and practices and from the tourist industry with a view to a public presentation of the Animals International website and a inaugural campaign to coincide with the launch of the 2007 tourist session. Animals Worldwide, with the support of Dogs Trust, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, The Kennel Club, Wood Green Animal Shelters, SNIP International & CATSNIP will launch formally at the House of Commons, London on 28 June 2006.

l Animals Worldwide website: will ‘go live’ on our launch date of 28th June 2006, so please check us out, or contact Suzy Gale by telephoning 01843 847393/07774 841557 or e-mail for further details.