Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Why Greek Animals? By Lucy Westmore, Head of UK Operations, GAWF

Whilst fundraising at Brighton train station, a young man approached me to put some money in my collecting tin and asked

‘why the GREEK Animal Welfare Fund, is it really that bad over there?’

Sadly the answer is yes and, due to the dire economic situation in Greece right now, GAWF is needed more than ever. Animals have become the latest victims of the financial crisis as they are neglected and often turned out onto the street when people can longer afford to keep them. Luckily GAWF/Animal Action is there to step in and help. Here’s a little bit about how and why we became the Greek Animal Welfare Fund…

Back in 1959, a British woman, Eleanor Close, moved to Greece with her husband and was shocked by scenes of animal abuse and neglect that confronted her. Sick and starving dogs and cats roaming the streets; bony dogs in hospital laboratories waiting their turn to take part in cruel experiments; exhausted horses and donkeys at the end of their working lives - abandoned to fend for themselves because they were no longer useful and abattoirs using medieval practices in the slaughter of animals.  The list goes on.

Mrs Close quickly set up a working group of Greek, English and American women and their aim was to change the way people viewed animals but above all, to improve their lives. 

Over the decades that followed, GAWF made dramatic inroads and supported hundreds of local welfare groups, fundraised for veterinary equipment and medicines and donated these, neutered and treated countless animals, gave grants and emergency funding to those in desperate need and launched a national education drive to raise awareness of the needs of animals – to name just a few of our activities.

Today, we are continuing the work Mrs Close began, reinvigorated and with as strong a will as ever, always with the same aim:  to improve the welfare of all animals in Greece. 

GAWF now operates in Greece as Animal Action (because the Action happens in Greece and we Fund the work from the UK).  We believe in working within Greece to find practical and sustainable solutions to animal welfare problems and each year we help thousands of animals. We have seen a vast improvement in the way people treat animals in the 50+ years GAWF has been active and we are certain we will continue to see more positive results as we look to the future.

Mrs. Close
So - going back to the guy at the train station - I told him that GAWF is absolutely essential for the animals in Greece and we do need a charity working specifically for them.  Sadly, Mrs Close is no longer with us but I often wonder whether she ever imagined what an amazing and lasting legacy she would leave.

Greece is a beautiful country and it is often only ignorance that is responsible for the poor treatment of animals. By working with the people in Greece, in a way that shows them the benefit of treating animals compassionately, we are seeing real changes. So do holiday there, and have a fantastic time safe in the knowledge that GAWF will be there for the animals all year round, and for as long as they need us.

You can help us care for animals in Greece. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.



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