Opinion Former Article

IFAW: TV favourite honoured for lifetime’s dedication to animals

Much-loved TV presenter, artist and musician Rolf Harris is to receive a special award in recognition of his work with animals from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords.

As well as being a household name through his TV and music career, Rolf (81), who was born in Australia but is based in the UK, has had a lifelong love of animals.

His work with animals is familiar to many through his 10 years presenting BBC1’s hit show ‘Animal Hospital’, which followed the real-life activity of a veterinary practice and covered many aspects of animal care and welfare. Viewers appreciated Rolf’s understanding and sympathy for the important bonds between owners and pets and the programme went on to win the National Television Awards ‘Most Popular Factual Entertainment Show’ five times.

Rolf also presented ‘Rolf’s Amazing World of Animals’ where he highlighted animal rescue and conservation projects around the world, including animal welfare issues such as the transportation of horses across Eastern Europe. Rolf has also produced a number of animal books and has incorporated animals and wildlife into many of his songs and paintings.

He has used his public profile to raise animal welfare issues close to his heart, particularly the plight of young harp seals in Canada, killed in their thousands every year to provide fur for the fashion industry. Rolf felt so strongly about the cruelty of the commercial hunt that he penned a protest song ‘Slaughter on the Ice’ to campaign for an end to the hunt.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We are delighted to be able to reward Rolf’s dedication to animals with our Lifetime Achievement Award. His work on animal welfare issues, particularly the way he spoke out against the cruelty of the commercial seal hunt in Canada, has been valuable as we worked to successfully achieve a European ban on the trade in commercial seal products.”

Rolf will receive his award at IFAW’s prestigious Animal Action Awards ceremony, hosted by Baroness Gale, at the House of Lords on October 18.

He said: “I am thrilled to be honoured by IFAW for my work with animals. It’s something that has always been close to my heart. It was wonderful to be associated with ‘Animal Hospital’ and to feel such closeness with all the animals and their traumas and illnesses. The Canadian commercial baby seal slaughter is an issue I felt compelled to speak out against, and I’m glad that I was able to raise awareness of this merciless activity.”

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For more information or photos please contact Clare Sterling in the IFAW UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7587 6708, mobile +44 (0)7917 507717, email csterling@ifaw.org or alternatively visit www.ifaw.org

Stock photos of award winners are available in advance and photos from the ceremony will be available shortly after.

Notes to Editors:
Animal Action Awards, supported by Nat Geo Wild and the People newspaper, are part of IFAW’s annual Animal Action Week which takes place around the world involving thousands of schoolchildren who are motivated to get involved in animal welfare. This year’s theme is elephant conservation.

If you would like to nominate someone for an Animal Action Award for 2012 please write to: IFAW Animal Action Week, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

 

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