Voiceless Grants Program inspires the next generation of changemakers for animals
In 2024, the Voiceless Grants Program continues to inspire and empower a new wave of changemakers dedicated to the protection of animals. Building on the impact of our annual grants giving program in recent years, we are committed to creating a just and equitable world where animals can flourish by supporting and investing in changemakers, visionary organisations and initiatives that reform our social, cultural and political systems. Below are the next generation of changemakers for animals who successfully applied to the Voiceless Grants Program and whom we will be partnering with in 2024.
On Australian tracks, approximately five greyhounds die every week and over 10,000 are injured each year while racing. Eleven thousand greyhounds are bred for racing each year and of them, approximately 25% become “wastage”. Only six countries worldwide allow greyhound racing and 64 of these existing tracks are in Australia (more than the rest of the world combined). Racing greyhounds are not protected by the same laws afforded to companion dogs and need our protection from the inherently cruel and poorly regulated industry that they have been bred into.
Voiceless is proud to support a coalition of greyhound protection organisations to progress strategies to ban greyhound racing. Some of this information is still under embargo, but we can share that these campaigns are committed to ending the suffering of racing greyhounds, influencing public opinion and targeting state governments to commit to a ban on this cruel industry.
Voiceless is thrilled to support Defend the Wild’s new documentary, Native Pest, which tells the story of one of the most controversial animals in Australia, the dingo. Dingoes are considered both a “pest”, subjected to systems of indiscriminate and cruel lethal control, and “ecologically significant”, for keeping Australia’s delicate ecosystems in balance. This doco explores the cultural significance of our only Indigenous canine and the fractured relationship between the natural world and Australia’s agricultural industry.
In 2023, the Defend the Wild team began filming Native Pest in collaboration with actor Ellen Burbidge, widely known for her work with the Juice Media. They filmed interviews with individuals who lost their beloved dogs to 1080 poison, and Dr. Louise Boronyak on her expertise around non-lethal alternatives for landholders. Two further interviews have taken place in January 2024, one being with Yaraan Couzens-Bundle regarding the deep significance of the Dingo has to many First Nations people.
Due to government policies and inherited ways of thinking, 1080 poison baits and painful foothold traps are utilised to kill Dingoes, despite evidence suggesting this could leave livestock more likely to be attacked. Defend the Wild’s remaining interviews will uncover these topics more deeply, as well as offer non-lethal predator mitigation strategies that benefit both landholders and Dingoes. Presenting the Dingo as a trespasser on their homeland, Native Pest looks to a future where Australia’s Indigenous animals are respected on the land where they belong, calling on citizens to take a stance, and governments to act.
Yet another live export disaster unfolded with 16,000 animals stranded on board the MV Bahijah in the heat of summer, amidst a global conflict. The live export trade is inherently cruel and indefensible and the situation highlights again how the governance system in Australia is unable to regulate and manage animal welfare.
Voiceless has joined our friends at the Australian Alliance for Animals (and the broader End Live Sheep Exports working group) to continue lobbying for a national phase-out of the live sheep export industry and an Independent National Animal Welfare Commission.