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Courageous Women Lead Animal Welfare Movement

By Meredith Ayan, Executive Director

March 8th is International Women’s Day, so I want to take a moment to honor all of the amazing women in the field of animal welfare.

Animal welfare is by and large a women’s movement. That’s not to say there aren’t some amazing men involved with animal welfare, because there certainly are. However, the vast majority of our partner organizations in North America and overseas are led by women. Even here at SPCA International our staff is made up of an incredible group of strong and committed women.

So, this International Women’s Day, I would like to recognize and honor just a few of the women making the world a better place for animals.

  • Helena Hesayne founded BETA Lebanon in 2004 and has since cared for thousands of animals. Today, BETA is in the process of building a new state of the art shelter facility that will house the over 800 dogs and cats who depend on Helena and her team.
  • Suzanne Rivera Danziger wanted to build a shelter when she founded AMA Guatemala, but couldn’t afford it. Now she sees this as a blessing. Instead of sheltering, AMA helps low income local citizens foster the strays they encounter on the streets. Then AMA secures loving forever homes for the animals. With this model, Suzanne is changing public perceptions about animal responsibility in Guatemala.
  • Pat Chan founded Spay Panama in 2001, which has sterilized tens of thousands of animals in Panama through free and low cost spay and neuter clinics held throughout the country. Pat’s innovative model of utilizing the time and talents of dozens of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students has prevented the births of hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals.  
  • Anna Clements founded SOS Galgos in Spain in 2000 along with her veterinarian husband. Together, they have saved hundreds of Spanish Greyhounds known as Galgos, brought the plight of Galgos to the public and political conscience, and even helped Galgos become one of the trendiest rescue dogs in Spain.
  • Du Yufeng is the fearless leader of the Bo Ai Animal Protection Centre in China. A life-long animal lover, Du started rescuing dogs in 2003. She is well known for her work to stop the dog meat trade in China and has been known to demand permits from truck drivers and butcher operating illegally (then call the police to have them arrested).
  • Garofita Hofmann leads Dog Rescue Romania where she has rescued hundreds of dogs and subsequently rehomed them throughout the European Union. Not just a shelter, Dog Rescue Romania works to sterilize dogs throughout the country and improve conditions for animals on the streets.

In my travels with SPCA International it has been an honor and a pleasure to meet the women advancing the animal welfare movement who are equal parts compassionate, motivated and intelligent. So to all the women who have stepped up to make life better for even just one animal. We see you, we honor you and we thank you.