Hannah Russell became a Wild Welfare ambassador in 2020 and provides fantastic support to us by raising our profile and championing our global animal welfare projects. Hannah is a best-selling children’s author from Yorkshire in the UK, she is also an entrepreneur and as well as supporting Wild Welfare, is an ambassador for international equine welfare charity Brooke and conservation charity Helping Rhinos. Hannah is an animal lover and animal owner, most well-known perhaps for being Little Alf’s carer, her Miniature Shetland pony that is the main character of her Little Alf books. For our latest blog Hannah answers our questions on her passion for animal welfare and how we can all do more to be a force for good for animals.
Thank you Hannah for joining us in this Question & Answer session!
You are an ambassador for Wild Welfare and two other animal charities – how did you first get involved with helping animals and wildlife?
I have always been an animal lover, even since an early age. I’ve always had animals in my life and as a child I was a lover of British wildlife and always thought I wanted to work with animals in some way. I went out to Egypt when I was 12 and saw what work the Brooke was doing with horses and donkeys, and that’s how I started helping charities. I got inspired to help after that trip and did bake sales at school to fundraise and found it really rewarding and have always loved volunteering for charity too.
You are the owner of a very well-known pony, Little Alf, the star of your best-selling books, what is good animal welfare for him and how do you make it a priority?
My animals are my priority, so making sure they have everything they need on a daily basis is crucial. For Alf, having the right paddock to run around in, shelter for protection from the weather, lots of matting and straw so he’s comfy in his stable are all important. Lots of treats for after his dinner so he can graze on food overnight, as horses like to forage and trickle feed and Little Alf also has two friends with him as they are herd animals, so being with company is very important.
Why are animal welfare organisations and issues so close to your heart?
I think being such an animal lover I hate to think of any animals suffering at all. If you can do anything to help animals and to help organisations, whether through promotion in the press or through social media, then it’s great as you get to see the end result of helping.
Wild Welfare works to ensure all captive wild animals can receive good animal welfare, what part do you think the public can play in ensuring good welfare for animals in zoos and wildlife facilities?
Do your research before you go! Make sure you visit accredited and certified facilities where possible and when you are visiting animals in captivity, be really mindful of their space, don’t make too much noise and follow the rules, that’s very important. A big no no for me is having anything to do with animals on chains, that’s a big red flag.
You also support endangered species through your brand Wildlife Wear – can you tell us more about the brand and what it does?
Wildlife Wear initially started as a brand that was just helping rhinos, It’s an international clothing company dedicated to helping animals and giving back to animal causes, but it was just rhinos to begin with. Now though, the company has expanded to help all animals. To me it’s vital that Wildlife Wear helps animals and the planet; we are sustainable, we have organic clothing and we use biodegradable packaging.
Hannah will be taking part in a fundraising challenge for Wild Welfare next month, you can read more about that HERE.
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Image © Wild Welfare: Hannah & Little Alf with Wild Welfare’s animal welfare field manager Sarah Blake