Senior inspector, Grace De Lange, from the National Council of SPCAs' Farm Animal Protection Unit, was awarded the Medal of Heroism Award at the Intelligence Transfer Centre's 8th Annual Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement Conference. The event held over three days from 27 - 29 May 2015, was presented at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways.
De Lange was the winner in the category for women who distinguished themselves through acts of bravery including exemplary performance during dangerous situations defusing potential conflict situations.
De Lange has dedicated the past 10 years to protecting animals, and under the auspices of the NSPCA is one of the few officers authorised in terms of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962 to work across the country.
Grace has a passion for farm animals, seen as the least charismatic and, therefore, sadly, the most often forgotten of all species. Her commitment to these animals over the years has resulted in her accompanying farm animals on ships to other countries to monitor their welfare. This often undertaken under difficult and threatening circumstances. Grace has bravely investigated the high profile Thandi Modise case in the North West Province. She has responded to emergency calls at midnight, has travelled far distances and spent many days away from home to ensure the wellbeing of animals. Her life has been threatened on more than one occasion in the execution of her duties to prevent the abuse of animals and alleviate their suffering.
Manager of the NSPCA's Farm Animal Protection Unit, Andries Venter, commented that Grace has excelled in her duties and is currently investigating numerous criminal dockets of animal cruelty. She was responsible for ensuring that the production of Foie Gras remains illegal in South Africa by successfully prosecuting owners of a farm that held ducks and force-fed them to a point of abuse. "Grace is an asset to the NSPCA and is a dedicated employee and committed animal welfarist. She is responsible for monitoring and improving the welfare conditions of farmed animals in the country, currently focussing on the poultry industry. Grace's compassion extends to all animals whether they be farm, wild, domestic or aquatic and will not turn a blind eye to animals suffering" continued Venter.
Through this award, Grace has been recognised for her dedication, professionalism and the fearless pursuit of issues that affect farm animals, which embodies the values of the National Council of SPCAs.
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