nita_lichauco.jpgIn 1986, Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco reorganized a then-dormant Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) with a handful of volunteers. Since then, its members have put up shelters and adoption programs for rescued cats and dogs. A revised animal welfare bill was soon drawn up and diligently pursued. But Nita achieved her biggest victory when the Animal Welfare Act (also known as Republic Act 8485) was signed into law in 1998. “It was the first national anti-cruelty law in our country and the first in Southeast Asia,” Nita recalls. “There are times I wish I were not that passionate—because I feel each animal’s pain. But that would mean I’d be indifferent to the pain of other creatures. It would also take away the fulfillment of being able to give a once-suffering animal another chance at a good life.”

(First published in Marie Claire, November 2007; Photo by Sara Black)

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