Animal Welfare Charities remember remarkable women


To celebrate International Women's Day on 8th March, two Animal Welfare Charities, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare and Humane Slaughter Association have shared with us their favourite animal welfare heroines. These pioneering and inspiring women not only made a lasting impact in animal welfare but led the way for the generations of women scientists and veterinarians to come. 

Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) is an internationally recognised, independent, scientific and educational animal welfare charity concerned with improving knowledge and understanding of animals’ needs. It promotes high standards of welfare and practical, long-lasting solutions to welfare problems for farm, companion, laboratory, captive wild animals and those with which we interact in the wild.

Ruth Silverman, MRCVS, ACIS, 1914-2003 (photo courtesy Danny Isaacs)

The vet who helped animals in Israel:

‘No one knew where it came from, what I should do with it, where I could take it. I talked to everyone... I did not know what to do and did not want to do anything.’ 

Marguerite Silverman wrote these words on having found a stray puppy huddled against a wall whilst on holiday in Israel. But such was her tenacity in wanting to improve the welfare of animals, she went on to found the Society for Animal Welfare in Israel (SAWI). 

The orphan who fled the Bolsheviks:
Dame Olga Uvarov, DSc (Hon) CBiol, FIBiol, FRCVS, 1910-2001 

‘She was given a Red Cross label marked ‘Orphan No 7’ to hang round her neck and was told to pack a basket with a change of clothes...’ 

Olga studied at the Royal Veterinary College, graduated in 1934 and became the first female president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). She served on the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare’s Council and became its Vice-President. 

The Humane Slaughter Association works to improve the welfare of food animals during transport, marketing, slaughter, and killing for disease control and welfare reasons. It works through research, education, training and technical advances to improve standards and bring practical and lasting improvements to the welfare of food animals around the world.

Miss Dorothy Sidley, 1896-1978 (photo courtesy HSA)

The volunteer who dedicated her life to animal welfare:

‘No food or water was provided. There was a water trough in the central avenue but the animals were driven past it. I saw only one cow get a drink throughout the day.’ 

Dorothy’s early work showed that animals at markets suffered from exposure due to lack of shelter and shade, lack of water and very rough handling, with auctions in many places carried out in antiquated street markets. 

Miss Violet Wood, 1866-1932

The woman who travelled the world to help animals:

Violet was instrumental in seeking improvements in animal welfare across the globe, travelling throughout Europe and further afield to countries such as Tangiers and Albania, undertaking difficult and often harrowing work. 

Thanks to women like Violet and Dorothy, and also to the backing of people who share the charity’s concern for the welfare of animals, the HSA has already delivered initiatives which have made a difference to millions of animals at a time when they are most vulnerable.

How you can help 

To read more about their journeys and their work for UFAW, visit: news/news 

Please help us to continue their legacy by reading their stories and donating to UFAW. Large or small, your donation means a great deal to the lives of many animals and is vital in helping us continue. 

Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, 

Herts AL4 8AN.
T: 01582-831818
Email: Website: Charity No: 207996 


Read more about their stories at
Please help us to continue their legacy by reading their stories and donating to the HSA. Large or small, your donation means a great deal to the lives of many animals and is vital in helping us continue.

Humane Slaughter Association
The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8AN.
T: 01582-831919 Email:
Charity No 1159690