Local Women’s Maureen Coleman meets Nora Smith, the new Chief Executive of the USPCA, and finds out why a ‘legislation deficit’ means Northern Ireland needs to do better in terms of animal welfare and protection.

Growing up on a celery farm outside Portadown, Nora Smith was known locally as a rescuer of unwanted cats and kittens.

Nora and her five siblings had always owned dogs, but much to her parents’ exasperation, the farm often became a first port of call for stray pets.

At one point, word got round that if you didn’t want a cat or kitten, then drop it off at Smith’s farm,” Nora recalls.

“We’d always had dogs but I seemed to end up rescuing cats and kittens from I was knee-high. I’ve always been passionate about animal welfare.”

It’s little surprise then that Nora, who now lives in Donaghcloney, has recently been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the USPCA, the second oldest animal welfare charity in the world.

Formed in 1836, the charity plays a critical role in the prevention of cruelty to animals, the relief of suffering in animals and the advancement of animal welfare across Northern Ireland

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