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April 19, 2011

The 2011 Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference (CAWC)

The 2011 Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference wraps up after two successful days in Puerto Rico

Humane Society International

  • Representing the host island, Puerto Rico. Michelle Cintron

  • Networking during breaks. Michelle Cintron

  • Speakers captivated the audience. Michelle Cintron

  • Attentively listening. Michelle Cintron

  • Having lunch with new-found friends. Michelle Cintron

  • Questions welcomed. Michelle Cintron

  • Positive feedback. Michelle Cintron

  • Participants from across the Caribbean. Michelle Cintron

  • Representing neighboring islands. Michelle Cintron

by Alexandra Rothlisberger

Humane Society International, with the support of the Pegasus Foundation, organized this year’s Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference in Puerto Rico April 3-5, 2011.

The 2011 CAWC brought together animal welfare groups from across the Caribbean for a training and networking event seeking to solidify the work of animal welfare organizations in the region. The conference, held at the Verdanza Hotel in San Juan, covered critical issues such as changing governments' approaches to animal welfare, humane animal capture and handling techniques, responding to large cruelty events, and equine and marine species protection initiatives.

Highlights included presentations on feral cat spay/neuter projects and ways to develop sustainable "cat cafés." Among the surprises was a presentation on shark conservation, during which the Shark-Free Marina initiative, which is based on turning conservation strategies into profitability for local communities, shared tips and lessons learned applicable to the business of caring for stray dogs and feral cats. The closing presentation brought the audience to tears, as renowned animal welfare public speaker Mike Arms described how the kindness of a dog had set him on the path to doing all he can to ensure that every companion animal is safe from harm under a loving roof.

More than 120 individuals from 70 organizations and government entities traveled from 25 locations to attend the conference. Previous Caribbean Animal Welfare Conferences were held in 2006 in Antigua and 2008 in the Dominican Republic.

Sponsors of the 2011 Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference included:

The Pegasus Foundation

Humane Society International

World Society for Protection of Animals

Pettus Crowe Foundation

Best Friends Animal Society

Maria Norbury Foundation

ASPCA

International Fund for Animal Welfare

PetSmart Charities

Federación Protectora de Animales de Puerto Rico