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A lamb sits around the neck of Pope Francis as he visits a Nativity scene last year (CNS)

Previous winners of the animal welfare charity’s award include Morrissey, Tony Benn and Ricky Gervais

St Francis with the Animals by Lambert de Hondt the Elder and Willem van Herp the Elder

St Francis didn’t think animals were ‘almost’ like us – he loved them because they had come from the hand of God

Benedict XVI accepts a gift of an ivory crucifix from Benin's President Thomas Yayi Boni, who said it was obtained legally (Photo: CNS)

Fr Lombardi says Vatican Radio will engage in fight against poaching

Animals pay a visit to St Peter’s Square

Horses, cows, rabbits and peacocks were among the species present for the traditional blessing of St Anthony at St Peter’s Square