Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Introduction to GAWF

Introduction to GAWF

What is GAWF?
GAWF is an animal welfare charity based in London, England and Athens, Greece. It was started in 1959 by Eleanor Close. The aim of the charity is to provide protection and care for animals in Greece. This is a huge task as there are many animals in need of help, such as stray cats and dogs, abandoned pets, working animals and farm animals. 

Vitally Needed
Since the financial crisis in 2008, the economy of Greece has suffered a major decline. Many people can no longer afford to care for their pets properly. Large numbers of stray cats and dogs roam the streets of Greece, hungry and often suffering from disease. Animal shelters, neutering programmes and adoptions are desperately needed to provide for these poor animals. 

Because of the economy, many people have moved away from the cities to rural areas, relying on working animals such as horses to make a living. Many equine owners do not have the resources or knowledge to look after these animals properly.
Animal farming conditions are also a serious concern in Greece. While some progress has been made in improving animal welfare legislation, many farms and slaughterhouses are still not properly regulated. There are vast numbers of animals suffering in terrible living conditions as a result.

How we can help

Stray animal welfare

Anyone who has been in a Greek city is aware of the many stray cats and dogs. These animals are condemned to a life on the streets, malnourished and treated like vermin. We have a social responsibility to help these poor homeless animals.

We can make a real difference to the stray problem, with simple neutering programmes. Neutering reduces overpopulation, and eases the strain on weak mothers who cannot handle raising too many offspring.

Your donations help to fund neutering, and provide vaccinations from disease. You can also help us to educate local communities in how to provide and care for these animals responsibly. Even a small donation can make a real difference to the lives of stray cats and dogs.

Care for Horses and Donkeys
Working equines are common in Greece, and they are relied upon heavily for transporting agricultural produce in rural areas.

Sadly, many equine owners do not have the resources to adequately care for horses and donkeys. Common problems we come across are twisted hooves, tendonitis, bruised soles, and foot abscesses. These can cause the animal a lot of pain and lead to serious injury. 

Equines also require regular dentistry. Left unchecked, their teeth can develop conditions which cause the animal severe pain, problems eating, and even fatal blood loss.

With your donations, we are able to arrange outreach visits to treat horses – vital in remote areas where there are no local veterinary services (or where the owners are to poor to afford care). The money that you give also enables us to train equine owners to look after their animals correctly, and to recognise and prevent injury.

Farm animals: born into a life of suffering
While animal legislation exists in Greece, these laws are not high priority for the government – meaning many farms and slaughterhouses are not properly monitored or inspected.

As a result, many animals are raised in horrific living conditions:
  •  Chickens are kept in cages where they are unable to move, keeping them in a state of constant pain for their entire lives. They may die a slow painful death in overcrowded cages, where their corpses are not noticed.
  • Distressed hens attack and even cannibalise each other, and live out their lives with painful injuries and infections. 
  • Pigs are often castrated without any anaesthetic.
  • Sows live without any bedding, and without any room to turn over or move.
  • Cattle have no regulation, meaning many live with illness or injury, and are unable to graze or express their natural behaviours.
We aim to improve this situation by lobbying the Greek government, and by campaigning to raise public awareness of farm animal suffering. Your donations pay for the vital resources needed for this. Please help us to stop the suffering of millions of farm animals by donating today.
Other Activities
  •  We run a veterinary care fund, which aims to help people who can no longer afford to care for their pets - essential to a country with so few animal shelters.
  • Adoption programmes - for those that would like to help first hand with animal rescue. For more details, head over to our Facebook page to see our virtual animal shelter. 
  • Education strategies - educating the public is an important part of improving animal welfare in Greece. Distributing leaflets, arranging seminars and visiting schools are just some of the efforts we make. 
We desperately need your help to continue working for animal protection in Greece. Every penny we receive helps to relieve the suffering of these beautiful innocent creatures – the forgotten victims of the economic crisis.

Please donate today, and help ease the suffering of millions of helpless animals.

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