It is with a sad heart that we share the news that our Co-founder of Voiceless, and hero for animals, Brian Sherman AM, passed away. He was deeply loved and respected, both as a wonderful kind person and as an inspirational and effective animal advocate. He will be profoundly missed. In this blog post, Ondine Sherman takes the time to pay tribute to her father.
About my father
My Dad, Brian, and I shared many things, but one of the most profound was a deep connection to and respect for animals, as equals and kin.
Sadly, we also shared the traumatic knowledge that comes from learning how billions of these sentient beings are subject to abject systemic cruelty, behind a veil of secrecy. For no other than our profit and pleasure.
This is why we found it so easy to found Voiceless, to work together, to throw ourselves into building our organisation, hoping to right wrongs, stand for justice, to make a difference.
It’s challenging to choose only a few traits to highlight my father’s legacy. There were just so many.
As well as creativity, intelligence, and tenacity, Dad brought to our fledgling non-profit a combination of charisma and kindness that, a friend described as an ‘infectious magnetic orbit’. People who fell outside the Australian animal rights movement lent their voices. A movement which, twenty years ago, was considered radical, fringe and, simply, unimportant. Corporate leaders, journalists, lawyers, politicians, artists, writers, actors, judges… these were not usually individuals associated with animal rights and when they spoke out for animals? It felt like a gamechanger.
When we began Voiceless, Dad and I agreed that working to galvanise the animal protection movement into a professional and effective force was a high priority. We helped to push the movement and the important animal protection issues such as factory farming and the largest wildlife slaughter on earth, the kangaroo industry, from the sideline into the mainstream. Dad was passionate about animal law, and we hired Australia’s first animal lawyer. Working hand-in-hand as a father-daughter team, we launched media prizes to encourage honest reporting of systemic animal cruelty, and invested seed funding to help anyone with a solid animal protection project, from activists to academics… My passion being education, we started clubs and programs to teach respect and compassion. (learn more about Voiceless’s history here)
Dad was a fighter, kind-hearted, but fierce – he saw our quest as a battle we must win on behalf of animals. No challenge, including legal threats by animal industries to silence us or shut us down or articles attempting to defame us or undermine our message (by journalists who were later made to publicly apologise!) scared him off. Rather, he was further emboldened to continue our pursuit for animal justice, pouring in his time, contacts, money, and heart, risking both his good reputation and the funds he had self-made.
I loved and admired my father and learned so much from him. Together with so many others, I will feel his loss deeply in my soul. I thank everyone who has joined Voiceless along our journey since 2004 as it meant the world to him. In his honour, I pledge to continue our fight for those whose voices we fail to listen, refuse to hear. The other beings who deserve to live their lives with dignity, freedom and joy.
I look forward to continuing this journey with you.
We were embraced by thousands of beautiful, loving messages from our Voiceless community. We thank you all so very much. See our dedicated page of tributes from our community.