Friday, July 30, 2010

3 Major Milestones

Cate Kerr (WSPA Australasia)
Dr.Viliami Toalei Manu (MAFFF)
Karen Galvan
May 2010 at the MAFFF HQ in Tongatapu

In May 2010, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a joint visit with the WSPA to The Kingdom of Tonga.

The visit to Tonga was highly successful. You never know what to expect when dealing with foreign red tape and south pacific cultures can be particularly tricky. I placed my expectation level at the very lowest because I new that whatever we walked away with would be something more than what we walked in with. In fact, we achieved so much more than we had hoped and it would be my view that a mini miracle has resulted from our meetings that took place, with government officials, ministry officials, locals, expats, business people and village leaders.

Milestone 1

No more than a couple of weeks after our return, Cate Kerr - WSPA's Australasia Member Society Manager emailed me thrilled to say that the Government of Tonga had signed the WSPA Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare. This is a pretty remarkable achievement. This tells me that we are in the right "space" and our goals are being pitched in a way that makes sense to those in Tonga that can help us develop and collaborate for future change - the decision makers that can pave the way for a brighter future for animal welfare matters in The Kingdom of Tonga are listening to us and interested in what we are telling them.

To read about the WSPA Declaration of Animal Welfare, you can go to - by signing this document, the Government have acknowledged that the Kingdom and its people agree that:

* Animals are sentient and can suffer.
* Animals’ welfare needs must be respected.
* Animal cruelty must end for good.

Milestone 2

SPAW Board - last week we held our very first SPAW Board meeting in Auckland. Rest assured that we are in good hands, we have a healthy mix of business and animal welfare expertise required to drive this organisation forward. It is exciting and we will be sharing more in the future. The SPAW board are a group of inspirational Kiwi's that all care deeply about the plight of animal welfare in the pacific. We are all deeply connected to the pacific through our lives and we all care about the our neighbouring island communities. We know that a collaborative, inclusive and developmental approach to animal welfare in the pacific will inspire remarkable change over the coming years. Together, we share that great Kiwi "number 8 wire" mentality of anything is possible.

Milestone 3

Last week, I forwarded our MOU agreement to the Ministry of Agriculture Food Forestry and Fisheries in The Kingdom of Tonga. This agreement is the foundation document of our work in The Kingdom of Tonga, and likely future projects in other islands. It outlines our joint responsibilities and goals to bringing more focus and long term sustainability to animal welfare matters in The Kingdom of Tonga. This agreement means we are on a journey together working collaboratively for the best possible outcome.

Rest assured, we are fired up and putting every effort into ensuring our programmes are well planned sustainable solutions to animal welfare issues in the pacific.

Our website will be up soon .... watch this space!

Take care
Karen Galvan

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Now that I have seen, I am responsible!

Today's SPCA/WSPA Humane Education conference in Auckland was an incredible event, well thought out and very well implemented. I felt so priviledged to be amongst a great group of people who all care deeply about the plight of animals and the role education plays in improving lives of animals through community collaboration.

Congratulations to both organisations for putting together an impressive programme of international speakers, credible individuals with amazing stories of courage, comradship and vision.

The conference was opened by Bob Kerridge, he doesnt need an introduction, everyone knows the work Bob continues to advocate through his life long work with the SPCA. His key message was that "Education has always been a priority in the prevention of cruelty to Animals". Bob was very thoughtful in his speech and took us through quite an emotional story of his own child-hood - growing up in a strict but highly influential Auckland family and how through his childhood troubles and a strong bond with his pet Cocker Spaniel named Rusty, he developed a love of, and empathy toward animals that has carried his career through to this day and has inspired an organisation and nation of people to care more for the animals we share the planet with.

Today we heard the most inspirational stories from many speakers, one in particular .... Julia Hardaker who works for AMRRIC, an organisation collaborating with aboriginal/indigenous peoples in Australia to better animal health and community health through veterinary care and education.

Elodie Guillon, WSPAs Education Manager from Asia provided insights into the amazing work WSPA are conducting in Asia and Vivian Chiu did the same sharing the SPCA Hong Kongs work and humane education programme with us.

I left todays conference feeling so invigorated. To be around like minded individuals who share such an empathy towards the plight of animals and also who care about the communities to which they work was amazing.

I cant wait for tomorrow.

Signing off

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

RNZSPCA/WSPA Human Education Conference July 2010

Hi everyone

This weekend, animal welfarists and humane educators from around New Zealand and the pacific congregate at the SPCA Education Centre in Mangere, Auckland, New Zealand ... the RNZSPCA /WSPA programme looks amazing with guest speakers including Bob Kerridge, Norm Hewitt and representatives from SPCA offices in New Zealand and Australia as well as WSPA member societies from the pacific region.

I shall be reporting on both days via my blogg.