2019 HSVMA Humane Achievement Awards

This year HSVMA honored five veterinarians for their incredible advocacy and continued work in the field of animal welfare.  One of these honorees, Dr. Jennifer Conrad, was presented with the Gordon Stull Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to the ban of cat declawing. Dr. Stull, who passed away in 2019, was a longtime HSVMA member and served on the HSVMA Leadership Council. He was also a tireless advocate for animal welfare with a particular interest in ending the cruel practice of declawing.  Each of these veterinarians has committed countless hours and resources to helping animals in need and we salute their efforts.  More about this year's honorees below:

Dr. Jennifer Conrad of California founded The Paw Project, a non-profit that educates about the cruelty of feline declawing and has successfully lobbied governments to ban the surgery in many locations across the country.  To date, The Paw Project has succeeded in passing bans in eight cities in California, the cities of Denver, CO, and St. Louis, MO, and state-wide in New York.  Her organization tirelessly advocates to end this cruel practice and also helps rehabilitate cats who have suffered the ill effects of being declawed.  Dr. Conrad herself has performed many reparative surgeries on exotic and domestic cats who have undergone declaw surgery.  Her organization has also helped pass laws to ban the practice of declawing wild or exotic cats and laws that prohibit landlords from requiring tenants declaw or devocalize their pets.


Dr. Richard Fischer of Arizona has saved tens of thousands of lives via spay/neuter surgeries with Arizona Humane Society and PAWS - The Modern Spay Neuter Clinic in Arizona.  He has donated his time and services to animals in the Havasupai Native Nation, to equine rescues and sanctuaries, and at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.  Dr. Fischer also provides equine dentistry throughout the state of Arizona with his mobile service, Fischer Equine Dentistry.  He was the first veterinarian to support a statewide ballot initiative to ban trophy hunting of big cats in Arizona.


Dr. Brenda Griffin of Florida is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.  Over the course of her career in shelter medicine, she has co-founded the Alliance for Contraception in Dogs and Cats (ACC&D) and spearheaded the establishment of shelter medicine as a specialty for veterinarians.  Recently, she has led the development of Fear Free Shelters, a online certification program which addresses the emotional needs of animals in shelters. 




Dr. Andrew Knight of the UK has advocated for humane teaching methods since he was a veterinary student in Australia.  While at Murdoch University School of Veterinary Medicine, he led the initiative to replace invasive laboratory exercises, establish a body donation program, and set up a spay/neuter program using adoptable animals from local shelters.  Since his graduation, Professor Knight has helped successfully implant humane alternatives in veterinary schools across Australia, New Zealand and the US.  He is the founder and Director of Centre for Animal Welfare at Britain's University of Winchester which provided education and research on animal welfare issues.  Professor Knight also established the Animal Welfare specialization for veterinarians in New Zealand.  


 Dr. Andrea Peda of St. Kitts and Nevis started the shelter medicine wellness program at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and is head of its spay/neuter program which includes the Feral Cat Project.  She also spends her time as faculty advisor for the school's welfare and rescue organizations including People for Animal Welfare (PAWS) and Volunteers in Defense of Animals (VIDA), organizations which provide free veterinary services to low income families on the islands, and Saving Animals From Emergency (SAFE) which uses public donations to pay for emergent veterinary care.  In addition, Dr. Peda has been integral to the development of the first animal shelter on the island of St. Kitts, Basseterre Animal Rescue Centre (BARC).  


Read more about previous HSVMA Humane Achievement Award winners here