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Human Animal Welfare Alliance

About us

An innovative and unique alliance spearheaded by Psychologist Dr Tara Quinn-Cirillo and fully supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG). Utilising the skills and passion of mental health professionals, as well as those in the animal welfare sector, to create a core shift in how the emotional health of those working in animal welfare is addressed and protected. We aim to create a direct, measurable, and hugely positive impact on the animal welfare sector in the UK.

Human Animal Welfare Alliance


There is an existing body of research that indicates that shelter staff in the UK are at increased risk of emotional health issues in recent times. Animal rescue services are under considerable pressure due to the cost-of-living crisis & ongoing fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of animals arriving in rescue shelters across the UK & the additional stressors associated with this. These include witnessing animals arriving in distress, as well as observing the impact of neglect & mistreatment. The demands placed upon workers in response to increased demand for services can lead to increased cases of overwhelm burnout, trauma symptoms & compassion fatigue. Symptoms that are easy to miss to untrained individuals. Staff mental health issues can invariably impact volunteer working ability & retention.

We know that stress can exert a significant impact both emotional & physical wellbeing. We can’t change the current climate, but we can help you & your needs to be heard. We can help support you to understand how & why we respond to stress the way we do & give you strategies to use to help mitigate the effects. This will help you to avoid burnout & other stress-related conditions so that you can engage in more value-based living, both in & outside of the great work you do. Stress avoidance is impossible, but stress management is something within all our capabilities when given the right tools to do so.

What we Provide

  1. We are developing the UK’s first Emotional Health Toolkit specifically for animal welfare workers. This will be digital and include a variety of resources to help staff manage their emotional health.
  2. Hosting emotional health safe spaces for shelter workers.These are supportive & informative sessions for UK based shelter staff to help them think through the current issues they are facing in their work & the impact this may be having on their own emotional health & wellbeing. We provide a safe & compassionate space for staff to be heard & for us to then identify their future support needs. We want to introduce staff to evidenced based effective psychological models to empower them to effectively manage stressors & demands impacting their emotional & physical health.
  3. Providing targeted mental health training sessions on topics including stress, anxiety, overwhelm & burnout, and vicarious trauma.
  4. Offer 1:1 telephone debrief calls as required for staff members in individual rescue organisations during discrete traumatic events. Utilising a trauma informed approach with the aim of reducing emotional distress and increasing psychological safety.