Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

Madrid, September 21 (EFE).- The veterinarians who rescued the animals from the La Palma volcano; Father Angel, Parish Priest of San Anton in Madrid; And Xabat, a disabled youth’s guide dog, received the 2022 Animal Welfare Awards this Wednesday, celebrating their sixth edition.

The Animal Welfare Award aims to recognize and encourage the work of people, institutions and companies to improve the welfare and quality of life of animals, Felipe Vilas, president of the Official College of Veterinarians of Madrid (Colvema), recalled at the event. entity of initiative.

Vilas praised the profession of veterinarians, who work on health for all through the concept of “One Health”, where animal health care translates into better health for humans and the environment.

He highlighted that animals are “companion, affection and a great medical aid” in a “complex and competitive” society, including dysfunction and mental deficits such as loneliness, depression or anxiety.

“If the way society treats its animals is a thermometer to measure their level of development and civilization, then today we veterinarians take a step forward to fairly recognize the work of the winners”, Vilas concluded to give way to the award.

Veterinary in La Palma

The award for “Committed Institution” has been given to more than 130 vets who “roared” from September 21, 2020 to the island of La Palma and the eruption of the Cambrai Vieja volcano, “physically risking their integrity” and an “admirable job” of 134 days. Work for, rescuing nearly 4,000 animals that lost their homes, were trapped in lava or had their habitats destroyed.

The award was given to María Luisa Fernández Miguel, president of the Veterinary Association of Tenerife, who thanked the rest of the Spanish Veterinary Associations for their work and solidarity, who “were there for everything” and contributed with donations.

Father is an angel

In the “People Committed to the Welfare and Care of Animals” category, Father Ángel, a priest from Madrid’s Church of San Antonio – the patron saint of animals – was recognized for “appreciating the sensitive role played by pets in people’s lives”. , as well as for the sensitivity and support shown to them.

The parish priest, who is a philanthropist and founder of the NGO Messengers of Peace, referred to vets as the “angels of animals” and said that loneliness is “the greatest disease of our society”, which many can “relieve” with the company and affection of animals. One who listens and is the greatest expression of selfless love.


Labrador retriever Zabat has been awarded the “Animal Committed to Society” award for being the “eyes, hands and feet” of Alberto Villalba, a young man from Teruel who lost his sight and hands in an accident in September 2013. The explosion of an abandoned Civil War grenade.

Eight years later, Jabat came into his life “to give him back the freedom, independence and joy he so desperately needed”, said the winner, the first person in the world, blind and armless, to have a guide dog.

He was accompanied at the event by ONCE Foundation guide dog trainer Elisenda Stewart, who admitted that training a dog to meet Alberto’s needs was a “complex” challenge, but that Xabat “made it very easy”, as he has a sixth sense, a great capacity for adaptability. And a very high sensitivity, reasons that make him “extraordinarily worthy” of the award.

They held an award ceremony at the college headquarters, Kovelma President; Isabel Rodríguez Hurtado, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Alfonso X University; and World Veterinary Association President, Rafael Laguens, at an event hosted by journalist and author Melissa Tua.

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