International Cat Care gave out its annual Cat Welfare Award to Harry Eckman of Changes for Animals at the Ceva Welfare Awards on April 6, 2016, at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham.
International Cat Care first met Harry when he volunteered to help train delegates on its trap, neuter and return (TNR) workshops in Portugal. Harry provided practical training and facilitation support on the cat welfare management for vets, nurses and animal welfare professionals. His expertise ranged from strategic planning and government liaison, to teaching the patience and techniques required to trap cats!
After years of gaining experience working with many different welfare organisations, Harry co-founded Change for Animals Foundation in 2011. The charity’s areas of work include humane companion animal management in Portugal, dog meat trades in SE Asia, wildlife in captivity, small NGO capacity development and support, lobbying of governments for sustainable legislative change and public policy enforcement, and welfare improvement. He also undertakes research and analysis to support best practice standards in monitoring and evaluation of projects.
Harry’s work in Portugal has contributed to changes in legislation, collaboration across organisations and improvements in welfare. Groundbreaking approaches have redefined how projects should be implemented.
Harry comments, ‘As someone who works on both dog and cat population management projects, I am pleased that there is a shift in cat welfare towards a more comprehensive approach including education, community engagement, responsible ownership and lobbying for legislation and enforcement. Achieving a comprehensive approach to cats has been difficult – funding for dog projects is easier to get because dogs are seen alongside the need to address rabies or other zoonotic diseases. Dogs are also more directly and obviously linked to people, and solving problems caused by dogs is always going to have a greater urgency. People seem to “get” dog welfare more’.
‘As someone who wears both dog and cat hats, I think cats have always been the poor relation and this has been detrimental to the advancement of companion animal welfare generally. The shift towards a more comprehensive approach in cat welfare, in which I am playing a small part, is something I am pleased to have achieved.’
Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of International Cat Care handed over the award and comments, ‘Harry has an experienced, practical and compassionate approach to improving animal welfare and has championed cats and invested in a strategic approach to undertake and monitor projects, sharing information so that we can all learn from them. Congratulations Harry’.
Jo Vuckovic, Digital Communications Manager
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Claire Bessant (International Cat Care) and Chris Lawrence (chief judge for the Awards) with Harry Eckman (centre) who won the International Cat Care/Ceva Cat Welfare Award.
Harry and a feline friend
Harry Eckman training a group of delegates
Notes to editors:
About International Cat Care (iCatCare)
A charity dedicated to the health and welfare of cats.
The International Cat Care vision: All cats, owned and unowned, are treated with care, compassion and understanding.
The International Cat Care mission: To engage, educate and empower people throughout the world to improve the health and welfare of cats by sharing advice, training and passion.