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Member Profile January 2015

World Animal Protection



More than six million animals died in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Some of the hardest hit communities depend on livestock for food and income. In collaboration with the local farmers and university we developed a resilient farm in Aklan, Philippines. With a removable roof that can be stowed away during the storm and underground animal shelters, the farm will protect more animals and livelihoods when the next disaster strikes.

This month, CCIC met with Melissa Matlow, Legislative and Public Affairs Manager. Melissa discussed the organization’s mandate and work, the importance of its programing “Animals in disasters” within humanitarian assistance and international development programming more generally, the “rebranding” process and plans for the upcoming year ... among other things!


CCIC - World Animal Protection has existed globally for more than 50 years, as a leader in the field of animal welfare. For those who are unfamiliar with the organization, could you introduce us to its work and mandate.

Melissa Matlow - World Animal Protection (formerly World Society for the Protection of Animals - WSPA) is an international animal welfare organization with 15 offices around the world.

For more than 50 years and in more than 50 countries we have been preventing animal cruelty and inspiring people to change animals’ lives for the better. Today we’re working on projects with local partners, governments and businesses to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering worldwide.  We also collaborate with the UN and other international bodies to make sure animals are on the global agenda because animal protection is a fundamental part of a sustainable future.  

While our mandate is to reduce animal suffering, it is very much linked to the mandates of humanitarian and development NGOs because helping animals, helps people.


CCIC - 'Animals in disasters' is one of your key programming areas. Could you briefly explain the importance and relevance of this file within humanitarian assistance and international development programming more generally.

Melissa Matlow - Yes, it is one of our four priority programs and it is also our oldest area of work. Essentially we help people better protect their animals before, during and after disasters strike. We are there for the full disaster cycle to strengthen community resilience. We partner with governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and communities to deliver expert emergency response and risk reduction and preparedness planning that ensures sustainable solutions for people and animals alike.

We go where the need is the greatest and our assistance is requested so most of our disaster management work happens in developing countries. One billion of the world’s poorest people depend on food-producing and working animals for their livelihoods and food security. When animals are included in the emergency response, it saves human lives and livelihoods, facilitates recovery and the achievement of longer-term food, nutrition and income security goals and builds community resilience. People are more likely to return home, re-establish food security and resume economic activity more quickly and sustainably if their animals are considered at the earliest juncture.


CCIC - In 2014, World Animal Protection undertook a rebranding exercise, including a new name. What was the impetus for this change?

Melissa Matlow - We wanted our name to be clear, distinct and memorable and instantly explain what we do in the least amount of words. The animal protection movement is a sea of acronyms so we no longer use one. We wanted to distinguish ourselves and the very different work that we do. With greater visibility and profile, we can reach more animals and the people who depend on them.

While our name and logo has changed, our work remains the same. It is firmly fixed on helping the world’s animals.


CCIC - As we begin 2015, what would you identify as World Animal Protection's main objective for the year ahead.

Melissa Matlow - Since we’re relatively new to representing our disaster management work to the humanitarian and development sector here in Canada, we are just beginning a conversation about the importance of livestock to our shared goals. We would like to collaborate with other CCIC members to ensure the importance of livestock is adequately reflected in Canada’s international humanitarian and development policies and strategies.


CCIC - World Animal Protection is one of CCIC newest members, joining in September 2014. Why was it important for you to join the CCIC community?

Melissa Matlow - We deeply appreciate CCIC’s role in helping us strengthen our engagement with DFATD and policy makers. We look forward to contributing our expertise on humane and sustainable animal management to future discussions about increasing aid effectiveness through greater emphasis on emergency preparedness, risk reduction and building resilience. We are also a member of CCIC’s Food Security Policy Group which is a great opportunity for us to contribute the livestock perspective to food security policy discussions and joint projects.

CCIC brings us up to speed on emerging issues and opportunities and helps us network with other NGOs to share information, expertise and collaborate on our common goals. We are proud to be a member of CCIC’s unified network to end poverty, hunger and inequality. These are huge problems to tackle and it requires us working together and learning from each other’s diverse expertise, perspectives and experiences.



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