Our Story

Who are we?

The Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF) is a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with Company number 881216 and charity number 233574. Our registered office is at 51 Borough High Street, SE1 1NB, London, UK.

Greek Animal Welfare Fund operates in Greece through its non-profit subsidiary Animal Action Hellas (AAH) which is registered with the Court of First Instance under No. 63793/505, with a registered office of Falireos 43, Neo Faliro 18547, Athens, Greece. GAWF funds and directs the activities of AAH through its Board of Directors / Trustees.

What do we do?

As a UK based charity operating in Greece since 1959, The Greek Animal Welfare Fund’s (GAWF) purpose is ‘the prevention and relief of cruelty and suffering amongst animals in Greece’.

We have a vision for ‘Greece to become a nation whose people care about the quality of animals’ lives’. We are proud of what we have achieved over many years as the longest serving animal charity operating in Greece at a national level. Many animals’ lives have been improved by our work. But there is still a lot for us to do before Greece becomes a country in which the quality of animals’ lives matter. That is why our mission is to ‘use the way we care for animals to educate and inspire, encouraging changes in attitudes at every level of Greek society.’

When did we first start working in Greece?

The work of the Greek Animal Welfare Fund began in 1959 – the year Mrs. Eleanor Close arrived in Greece. Following World War II and a devastating civil war, Mrs Close came to live in Greece when her husband was posted there. She was soon confronted by appalling animal suffering: sick and starving cats and dogs; painfully thin and broken-down horses and donkeys at the end of their working lives; brutal treatment in slaughterhouses and the dog pound. Having gained permission from the authorities, Mrs. Close set up a Working Committee of Greek, English and American ladies to try to change the unacceptable reality of the lives of animals in Greece.

However, they all soon realised that they had taken on a task that would require a sustained effort over a long period and that, in order for this to be maintained, further financial resources would be needed. As a result, ‘The Greek Animal Welfare Fund’ (GAWF) was established in London, in 1961, with the object of ‘raising funds to promote humane behaviour towards animals on the mainland and islands of Greece’. Once on a more solid financial footing, it became possible for GAWF to act on reports of neglected and abused animals, and to begin providing some of the treatment and services that were so badly needed.

In 1965, Eleanor Close was awarded the Victoria Medal, the RSPCA’s highest award, for her outstanding contribution to animal welfare in Greece. The following year she returned to the UK to become Vice President of GAWF.

On the 10th June 1966 GAWF became a registered charity in the UK. To this day, over five decades later, we remain committed to our Trust’s core objects and purpose, that being ‘the prevention and relief of cruelty and suffering amongst animals in Greece’. Over the decades, through continuous efforts and hard work, GAWF has expanded its reach and set up the first Greek welfare organisation at a time when the welfare of animals was anything but a priority in Greek society. We remain the longest service animal welfare organisation in Greece.

In 2011, GAWF’s Greek company was dissolved and reformed as “Animal Action Greece”, or more formally, Animal Action Hallas (Drasi gia ta Zoa stin Ellada) to give it a stronger and more recognisable identity, which it still successfully uses.

Today, in the spirit so passionately demonstrated by our Founder, we are still committed not only to our direct actions that work to alleviate suffering and improve the lives of thousands of individual animals, but also the campaigning and educational work we do to change attitudes to animal welfare at every level of Greek society. Added to this, our lobbying and advocacy work ensures that decision-makers keep the legislative framework and enforcement moving in a direction that acts to provide animals in Greece with the chance of a happier, healthier future.

OUR MISSION AND VALUES

The charity’s objects are “the prevention and relief of cruelty and suffering amongst animals in Greece”.  We aim to achieve these principally through programmes of veterinary treatment, education and training, lobbying decision makers, and public awareness campaigns.