The winners of the Ceva UK Animal Welfare Awards have now been announced, and we are delighted to present the International Cat Care Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare Award to Steve Crow.
Comprising nine categories, the Ceva UK Animal Welfare Awards celebrate the achievements of remarkable people who dedicate their lives to improving animal health and welfare in the UK and abroad. The iCatCare Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare Award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to the development of feline welfare, and Steve Crow has been chosen as this year’s recipient because of his longstanding work championing feline welfare in the breeding of pedigree cats.
Central to our vision as a charity is a holistic approach to welfare, where physical health and mental wellbeing are both equally important. Pedigree cats, which often have large amounts of money spent on their care, may not appear to have welfare problems, but due to the way pedigree cats are bred, they can suffer from inherited diseases or extreme physical traits that can have a huge effect on their welfare.
Because of the standards set out by breed clubs, registration and showing bodies, some pedigree cats are bred to conform to a particular physical appearance, and this limits the size of their gene pool which increases the chance of inherited diseases being passed on. Certain pedigree breeds also have extreme physical features, such as brachycephalic, or flat faced cats, which can have severe consequences for their physical health.
Steve Crow has been involved in cat breeding for over 35 years and has been a member of the Board of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) for 20 years. Steve feels strongly that breeding pedigree cats is not just about looks. Health is of equal importance, as is producing kittens which make good pets.
In 2010, he developed a General Breeding Policy for the GCCF to encapsulate health into breeding and to encourage different breeds to incorporate these principles into their own breed standards and registration policies, including encouraging testing for inherited diseases. As well as developing policies and rules as part of the GCCF genetics committee to solve problems and prevent them from occurring, Steve has also gained agreement within the GCCF that it will not grant recognition to breeds of cats which are known to suffer because of their looks.
These achievements are just a part of his tireless work trying to halt and reverse unhealthy practises in breeding pedigree cats, and it’s because of this incredible commitment that we have awarded him our Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare Award.
iCatCare chief executive Claire Bessant commented:
‘We are delighted to be awarding our International Cat Care Welfare Award to Steve Crow this year. While the word welfare is often thought of in relation to unowned animals, for us it means ‘health and wellbeing’, and while we may think of pedigree cats as something special, they are in fact just different to our moggie cats in that they are bred from a smaller gene pool of similar individual cats. This brings with it the increased risk of inherited problems, or of cats being pushed to extremes of conformation, both of which affect the cats’ welfare. Breeders also have a responsibility to produce healthy kittens which are well socialised so that their lives as pets are not stressful and they are happy to be around people. Steve understands these responsibilities and has tried to halt and reverse unhealthy practises in breeding pedigree cats and to provide education to champion responsible approaches which ensure long-term genetic health and wellbeing of these cats. He has worked with many different organisations within the cat world and has brought pragmatic approaches which encourage collaboration and support from different sectors.’
Find out more about Steve and his work, as well as past winners of this award here