Kwane Stewart, DVM
Chief Veterinary Officer and National Director,
No Animals Were Harmed® and Humane Hollywood
American Humane Association
In April 2013, American Humane Association named Dr. S. Kwane Stewart, a nationally prominent veterinarian with nearly two decades of experience as a clinician, administrator, animal welfare advocate, and the top medical officer of a network of veterinary hospitals and clinics across the country, as its Chief Veterinary Officer. Dr. Stewart also serves as the National Director of organization’s Humane Hollywood division and the flagship No Animals Were Harmed® program.
“Kwane brings visionary leadership, impressive medical credentials, and extensive animal welfare experience to his new position,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane Association. “His outstanding combination of skills, far-reaching vision, and deep-rooted compassion for animals will greatly benefit American Humane Association’s Film & TV Unit and the work we do on more than 2,000 film and TV productions annually.”
American Humane Association’s Los Angeles-based Film & TV Unit is the film and television industry’s only officially-sanctioned animal monitoring program. Operating since 1940, it boasts a 99.98 percent on-site safety success rate.
“The intersection of medicine, animal welfare, and the important role animal actors have in our society is what drew me to American Humane Association,” said Dr. Stewart. “I look forward to working with the talented team in the Film & TV Unit as we strive to provide for the welfare of animals working in entertainment and sustain AHA’s tremendous safety success rate.”
Dr. Stewart’s appointment was part of a multi-faceted effort initiated by American Humane Association to enhance its on-set oversight program with an expansion of its jurisdiction to include the protection of animal actors off the set as well as on.
The welfare and well-being of animal actors doesn’t begin when the director calls ‘Action’ nor end when he or she says ‘Cut’ Dr. Stewart stated. “Through AHA, we will help guide the industry on a transformative path toward ensuring that our beloved animal actors receive the most compassionate care and humane treatment before, during and after their working lives. American Humane Association has the backbone and the history to lead this.”
The new position is a natural progression for Dr. Stewart in his professional life. He spent the early part of his career as an associate and emergency veterinarian, honing his abilities as a practitioner and caregiver. Then in 2004, he was appointed chief medical officer of Vetco Hospitals Inc., a network of nearly 50 vaccination clinics and veterinary hospitals throughout the western U.S. While there, he assisted in the restructuring of the company, designed policy, trained personnel, and oversaw numerous other operations.
After five successful years with Vetco, Dr. Stewart’s life took an unexpected turn. While visiting an animal shelter in Northern California, he observed the dedicated but harried staff and learned the clinic had not had a veterinarian on staff for nearly three years. “That was a game changer. I knew this is where I had to be,” he recounts. Appointed County Veterinarian for Stanislaus County in Modesto, California, his duties included surgery, critical care and treatment of all impounded animals, staff supervision, oversight and enforcement of state and county policies and laws, as well as strategic planning and development. While serving as County Veterinarian, Dr. Stewart proposed and developed the state’s first collaborative low-cost spay-neuter clinic between private and government industries.
Dr. Stewart’s professional focus crystallized a long time ago. He was a mere eight years old when his mother took him to see the legendary movie “The Black Stallion.”
“I sat in the theater mesmerized and starry-eyed,” he recalled. As soon as the movie ended, I turned to my mom and said, ‘I’m going to be an animal doctor.’”