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American Humane Association Names Dr. Kwane Stewart Chief Veterinary Officer, National Director of No Animals Were Harmed® and Humane Hollywood

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Stewart Brings Vast Experience as Veterinarian and National Veterinary Hospital Leader To AHA’s Film and Television Unit

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 5, 2013– American Humane Association, since 1877 the nation’s voice for the protection of animals, has named Dr. S. Kwane Stewart, a nationally prominent veterinarian with nearly two decades of experience as a clinician, administrator, animal welfare advocate, and the top medical officer of a network of veterinary hospitals and clinics across the country, as its Chief Veterinary Officer. The appointment was announced today by Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane Association, who said that Dr. Stewart will also serve as the National Director of organization’s Humane Hollywood division and the flagship No Animals Were Harmed® program.

“Kwane brings visionary leadership, impressive medical credentials, and extensive animal welfare experience to his new position,” Dr. Ganzert said.  “His outstanding combination of skills, far-reaching vision, and deep-rooted compassion for animals will greatly benefit American Humane Association’s Film & TV Unit and the work we do on more than 2,000 film and TV productions annually.” 

American Humane Association’s Los Angeles-based Film & TV Unit is the film and television industry’s only officially-sanctioned animal monitoring program. Operating since 1940, it boasts a 99.98 percent on-site safety success rate.

“The intersection of medicine, animal welfare, and the important role animal actors have in our society is what drew me to American Humane Association,” said Dr. Stewart.  “I look forward to working with the talented team in the Film & TV Unit as we strive to provide for the welfare of animals working in entertainment and sustain AHA’s tremendous safety success rate.”

Dr. Stewart’s appointment is part of a multi-faceted effort initiated by American Humane Association last year to enhance its on-set oversight program with an expansion of its jurisdiction to include the protection of animal actors off the set as well as on. 

American Humane Association leaders are also planning to host an Industry Roundtable in April with key production players. Later in the year, the organization intends to convene a larger conference to educate the industry on safety concerns and other issues.  

“The welfare and well-being of animal actors doesn’t begin when the director calls ‘Action’ nor end when he or she says ‘Cut’ Dr. Stewart stated.   “Through AHA, we will help guide the industry on a transformative path toward ensuring that our beloved animal actors receive the most compassionate care and humane treatment before, during and after their working lives.  American Humane Association has the backbone and the history to lead this.”  

The new position is a natural progression for Dr. Stewart in his professional life.  He spent the early part of his career as an associate and emergency veterinarian, honing his abilities as a practitioner and caregiver. Then in 2004, he was appointed chief medical officer of Vetco Hospitals Inc., a network of nearly 50 vaccination clinics and veterinary hospitals throughout the western U.S.  While there, he assisted in the restructuring of the company, designed policy, trained personnel, and oversaw numerous other operations.  

After five successful years with Vetco, Dr. Stewart’s life took an unexpected turn.  While visiting an animal shelter in Northern California, he observed the dedicated but harried staff  and learned the clinic had not had a veterinarian on staff for nearly three years.  “That was a game changer.  I knew this is where I had to be,” he recounts.  Appointed  County Veterinarian for Stanislaus County in Modesto, California, his duties included surgery, critical care and treatment of all impounded animals, staff supervision, oversight and enforcement of state and county policies and laws, as well as strategic planning and development.  While serving as County Veterinarian, Dr. Stewart proposed and developed the state’s first collaborative low-cost spay-neuter clinic between private and government industries.  

Dr. Stewart’s professional focus crystallized a long time ago.  He was a mere eight years old when his mother took him to see the legendary movie “The Black Stallion.”  

“I sat in the theater mesmerized and starry-eyed,” he recalled.  “As soon as the movie ended, I turned to my mom and said, ‘I’m going to be an animal doctor.’”

About American Humane Association

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.

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