Dr Anne Quain calls herself an Animal Welfare Veterinarian but she is way more. Anne is a veterinary lecturer, author, and carer of one three-legged cat called Hero adopted from a Sydney cat shelter, Cat Protection Society NSW. She is a Diplomate in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law in the European College of Behaviour Medicine and Animal Welfare, and a Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Animal Welfare. As well as being co-author of the textbook Veterinary Ethics: Navigating Tough Cases, Anne has her own blog, www.smallanimaltalk.com.
The Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2021 is the fourth year of the program. Anne reflects on her personal experience as a judge, the entry process, and why rescue groups and animal shelters should enter the Rescue Awards.
What is my role? I have volunteered as a judge for the Companion Animal Rescue Awards since their inception.
What does it involve? The judging is extremely rigorous. The applications are extensive – designed to enable those in Companion Animal Rescue to be recognised for their work they do, but also to ensure they are meeting high standards. If I have a conflict of interest with a particular individual or organisation, I don’t assess that application. There are several rounds of judging to ensure the panel is comfortable and confident with the decision. Category winners and finalists can be assured that they have really achieved recognition.
Why am I doing this? Here and in many parts of the world we continue to have a surplus of companion animals – but this is reducing. The field of companion animal rescue has evolved so much in the last decade, and there are individuals and organisations innovating to reduce the length of stay in shelters, maximise rehoming rates and maximise animal welfare. To ensure this improvement continues, we need to make sure that those people doing the RIGHT thing are recognised, and that effective innovation can be shared.
Personally, I am also impressed that the Companion Animal Rescue Awards recognise not just animal welfare, but the welfare of those working in this field – one singled out for high rates of moral stress and burnout in published literature. We need to make sure that systems are sustainable, and that individuals and organisations recognised share compassion not just with animals, but also the teams who look after them.
What next? I encourage you (rescues and shelters) to ENTER the Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2021 but don’t wait until the last minute! The entry process is comprehensive. You will need to think about the responses, gather the relevant information/data, and spend a bit of time. You might realise there is an area you hadn’t thought about before – that’s part of the benefit of entering the Rescue Awards.