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July 8, 2010

The HSUS Awards Scholarship to Conn. High School Student

The Humane Society of the United States is proud to announce that Abbie Branchflower of Newtown High School is the recipient of its 45th annual Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship. The HSUS presents this award each year to a New England high school senior in recognition of significant work in the field of animal protection. Branchflower will receive a $2,500 scholarship for her pre-veterinary medicine studies at Delaware Valley College, Penn. this fall.    

"Abbie stood out for her unbridled passion for horses," said Heidi O'Brien, director of student outreach for The HSUS. "An advocate for pet adoption and an active member of school clubs, Abbie is a true friend to animals in need."

After learning about the conditions that horses endure before and during slaughter, Abbie wrote letters to influential leaders, overcame shyness to call legislators, and gave speeches to her 4-H club. She celebrated the victory of the last horse slaughter plants closing in the United States, but now advocates to ban horse slaughter worldwide. Abbie has also spoken out about Premarin mares and foals, carriage horses in New York City, the mismanagement of mustangs, and the dangers of horse racing.

To get her peers involved, Abbie co-founded "Charitable Acts in Newtown Towards Equine Rescue" (C.A.N.T.E.R) at her high school. The club holds an annual day of awareness in February called "Hearts for Horses" which promotes the humane treatment of all equines. To keep everyone informed, she also created a website and Facebook page.

"I have put countless hours into our club's mission because I truly feel that we can make a difference for horses," said Abbie.

Abbie is also an active member of the Animal Concerns Club at her high school, volunteers at The Animal Center in her town to socialize and care for felines, and adopted two kittens there. As a journalist for her school newspaper, she's written many articles to promote animal welfare and the importance of adoption. To raise money and awareness, she's participated in fundraisers to benefit horses, to benefit spay and neuter campaigns, and to help stop puppy mills and factory farming.

Admiral James Shaw and his wife Elizabeth established the Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship in 1965 to honor the family's strong belief in compassionate treatment of animals and the importance of humane education. Admiral Shaw was instrumental in developing the youth education division of The HSUS and served as the director of The HSUS New England Regional Office.

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Humane Society Youth is a division of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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