Dr Richard Saunders, Vet Specialist Adviser at the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF), has been named this year's 'Chris Laurence Vet of the Year' at the Ceva Animal Welfare Awards.

Richard was nominated for his dedication to improving rabbit welfare, in particular for his work in getting a new vaccine in to the UK to protect all pet rabbits against an emerging deadly disease (RVHD2).

Richard qualified from Liverpool University in 1994, obtained his Certificate in Zoological Medicine in 2001 and his Diploma in Zoological Medicine in 2010, while he was an RWAF resident. Richard is also registered as a recognised RCVS Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (one of only 30 in the world).

Rae Todd, CEO of the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund said: "We're incredibly proud of Richard for all of his hard work and delighted that he's received recognition for his work. We all owe Richard a huge debt of gratitude for his commitment to the industry and for protecting all pet rabbits. So far, we estimate in the region of 70,000 rabbits have been vaccinated thanks to Richard."

Co-host of the awards, Matt Baker said: "I am truly humbled by the hard work and dedication of individuals and organisations who are passionate about improving animal welfare and would like to congratulate both the finalists and the award winners who are making a real difference to the lives of animals both in the UK and abroad."

Cuneyt Seckin, managing director of Ceva Animal Health, added: "The Ceva Animal Welfare Awards go from strength to strength, both in terms of the number and quality of entries that we receive during the nomination process and the dedication, commitment and enthusiasm of the finalists and winners who often go above and beyond the call of duty in the name of animal welfare."

Other winners this year included: 

Welfare Nurse of the Year Award in association with Agria Pet Insurance
Adina Valentine, Blue Cross Animal Hospital in Grimsby

Charity Team of the Year supported by PDSA
The Dog Breeding Reform Group

Charitable Contribution of the Year supported by Blue Cross 
Helen Whiteside, Canine Research Associate at Guide Dogs

Farm Animal Welfare Award supported by R.A.B.I. and NADIS
The University of Nottingham Dairy Herd Health Group

International Cat Care Welfare of the Year Award
Maria Pinto Teixeira from Animals de Rua (AdR) in Portugal