Our annual St Francis and St Hubert Awards honour exceptional individuals who have made outstanding contributions towards advancing animal welfare and status in human society. In particular, the St Francis Award recognises individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving animal welfare and advancing animals’ status in human society. The St Hubert Award recognises individuals who have given up activities that exploit animals to become examples of compassionate living.
ABOUT ST FRANCIS AND ST HUBERT
St Francis of Assisi
St Francis of Assisi is well known as the Patron Saint of Animals. He lived between 1181 AD and 1226 AD. He preached to the animals and, legend has it, persuaded a wolf to stop attacking the people of Agobio. He founded the Franciscan order of monks which was given Papal approval in 1209AD. He referred to everything in nature ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister’, including ‘Brother Sun’ and ‘Sister Moon’.
St Hubert lived from 656 AD to 727 AD. He lived in the Ardennes as a hunter. One Good Friday when everyone else was at Church, Hubert was hunting in the forest, persuing a magnificent stag. Suddenly, as the stag turned round, a crucifix appeared between his antlers and a voice told Hubert to follow the Lord. Hubert gave his wealth to the poor and studied for the priesthood, living a holy life, fasting and praying. In 708 AD he became Bishop of Liege. The St Hubert Award recognises those who, like St Hubert, transform their lives to help animals.
St Hubert has been inaccurately described as the patron saint of hunters when he became honoured by sportsmen as the originator of ethical hunting behaviour. This is a fallacy as he renounced hunting after he had his vision. In fact, his hunting life had been seen by God as an unholy life, which would lead him to hell. Indeed, in the Middle Ages, when St Hubert became a priest, clergy were forbidden to hunt and, if they did, they would have to take penance [The School of Compassion by Dr Deborah Jones, Gracewing 2001].
This year, the awards went to individuals who have gone to extraordinary lengths for the sake of farmed animals at great personal cost.
St Francis Award 2019
The St Francis Award recognises individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving animal welfare and advancing animals’ status in human society.
Rev. Christa Blanke is the founder of Animals’ Angels, an organisation that monitors and reports on conditions in animal transport and slaughter across Europe and beyond, that fights to improve conditions, follows and accompanies them on their excruciating last journey in spirit and prayer. Christa has dedicated many years to helping and staying with the animals through the worst time of their lives, witnessing with great courage soul-destroying realities to raise awareness of and relieve their extreme suffering.
The moving film ‘10 Years of Animals Angels Work in the Field’ was screened.
St Hubert Award 2019
The St Hubert Award recognises individuals who have given up activities that exploit animals to become examples of compassionate living.
Jay and Katja Wilde have transformed the beef farm Jay had inherited through generations, into an organic vegan farm. In spite of his cultural heritage, Jay could no longer bear to send the animals he had been rearing and caring for to a terrifying death. Rather than selling their last hers for a very substantial profit to support the farm’s complex and risky transition, Jay and Katja made the courageous and compassionate choice to give their cows to Hillside Animals Sanctuary, allowing them to live out a safe and happy life together.
The BAFTA award winning film ‘73 Cows’ was screened.