Tributes from our Community

In loving memory of our hero for the animals, Brian Sherman AM 1943-2022

Over the last few weeks, we were embraced by thousands of beautiful, loving messages from our Voiceless community. We thank you all so very much. Below is just a selection, in no particular order. Due to the sheer number, we couldn’t include all the correspondence, but please know we read and appreciated every single one.  If you would like to write a personal message, memory or tribute, we look forward to hearing your thoughts (please email us at info@voiceless.org.au).

Brian knew that every life matters, and that just because we do not understand what other animals are saying, this does not mean they are saying nothing. He knew that if we listened closely, we would hear their cries of pain and loss, but also their joy, happiness, and love if we gave them a chance … He will be greatly missed, but his legacy and passions will remain instilled in those who knew him. – Dr Dan Ramp, Voiceless Director 

Prof David Croft, Dr Dan Ramp, Dr Dror Ben-Ami and Brian Sherman in Darwin 2009
Prof David Croft, Dr Dan Ramp, Dr Dror Ben-Ami and Brian Sherman in Darwin 2009

He was so kind, sensitive, honest and with the utmost integrity. He led by example, not by lecturing to others or making meat-eaters feel uncomfortable. I have lost a dear friend, but worse than that, I’ve lost someone who inspired me to greater things. – Charlie Teo AM, neurosurgeon and Voiceless Patron 

Your father was a wonderful human being who gave generously of himself for the benefit of the whole of the created world. It was one of the great privileges of my life to be able to work with him on Voiceless. – J.M.Coetzee O.M.G, Voiceless Patron 

His compassion and dedication, coupled with Brian’s creative ideas and ‘can do’ attitude, was so greatly appreciated. Just to be in his thoughtful presence was so special. He has contributed massively to the growth of our movement and will never be forgotten. A wonderful man. –  Glenys Oogjes, Chief Executive Officer, Animals Australia 

He was such a huge gift to world. There aren’t many people who we can say changed the world – but Brian absolutely did. – Hon. Emma Hurst MLC, Animal Justice Party 

Memories of Brian extend back to the early days of Edgar’s Mission, Brian and Voiceless’s belief in our work was among the first we ever received and something we shall always hold close to our hearts. Holding you all in our thoughts. – Pam Ahern, Founder, Edgar’s Mission 

Pam Ahern with Daisy the pig, Brian Sherman, Ondine Sherman and Katrina Sharman
Pam Ahern with Daisy the pig, Brian Sherman, Ondine Sherman and Katrina Sharman

Brian was one of the bravest and best and I shall always remember him. Joyce D’Silva, Ambassador Emeritus, Compassion in World Farming 

Brian made an enormous contribution to many fields of endeavour.  But especially animal welfare and the rights of the voiceless. – Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, Voiceless Patron

Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG at Voiceless law lecture
Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG at Voiceless law lecture

Brian was an exceptional man who did more for animals than most of us could achieve in 50 lifetimes. – Hazel Stephens, teacher and animal advocate 

An extraordinary human being with a powerful legacy who will be deeply missed by so many, not just in Australia but around the world, who taught us all to think outside the box. – Lisa Ryan, Animal Liberation 

We would not exist without Brian. We are forever indebted to you Ondine, your Dad, and Voiceless. Today we learnt that we won a Tribunal case which will see a rescue dog released after many months locked up in a pound cell. One happy dog returning to a bereft and loving family living in public housing and unable to fight for their dog without a community legal centre for animals. We dedicate that win to Brian. It could not have happened without him. We will always remember his support and vision. – Animal Defenders Office  

Brian’s work and the Voiceless grants program were so very important to the small, struggling community group I was part of (Port Adelaide Monitors). We had been screamed at, rained on and bitten by a thousand mozzies whilst filming live export loadings, and we were feeling pretty beaten when we received the miraculous call that we had won a Voiceless grant. The encouragement and support of this grant revitalised us, and we are forever grateful to Brian and to Voiceless – this was animal protection community building in action. – Rebekah Eyers, formerly Port Adelaide Monitors 

I first heard him speak on Radio National years ago when he said that it was an accident of history that pigs ended up on the table while dogs ended up under the table. Never forgot that. He made a real difference. – Paula Goodyer, Walkey Award-winning journalist 

 I had the honour of meeting Brian in 2016. I was thrilled to feature the family and your important work on Australian Story. He was a remarkable, compassionate, and consequential person. The work goes on. – Deborah Fleming, Founder of ABC’s Australian Story 

…a wonderful man who contributed so much to the world! He will be so missed. His legacy is enormous. – Bianca Havas, Voiceless Director 

Brian touched so many lives, including my own, which he shaped profoundly. – Katrina Sharman, Voiceless’s first animal lawyer

Katrina Sharman with Brian Sherman
Katrina Sharman with Brian Sherman

He was a champion for animals and will be sorely missed.– Ben Pearson, World Animal Protection 

Your father was an inspiration to us all as we struggle to make a difference for our fellow species, and other nations on this planet. – Dr Maria Taylor, journalist and author, member Australian Wildlife Protection Council 

What an amazing man – and what an impact his kindness has had on this earth. – Tim Vasudeva, World Animal Protection Australia 

Brian did more in his lifetime than so many of us could ever dream of. His impact on the animal protection movement will forever change the fate of so many animals for the better. Thank you Brian for your incredible legacy and for the thousands, if not millions of animals you have saved or helped– Billie Rose Harvey, Former Voiceless Employee 2016-2017  

Brian was a true visionary. He worked tirelessly for animals and for kindness. He understood the importance of the law and legal reform better than most. He had a great impact on my life and my passion for bringing about change through the law… I know I will continue to think of him as I work for animal justice.I remember Brian always had a great sense of humour. Even when faced with such bleak topics of work, he was always ready to have a laugh and connect with others. He always spoke with love of his dogs, who I recall came into the office as well… It was always amazing to see the star power Brian had with his connections. Visits to the office from celebrities and then at the red carpet events he held reflected his remarkable ability to mobilise people to the animal cause. – Dr Keely Boom, recipient of the Voiceless Eureka Prize 

Brian was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met, and a fantastic friend and role model. – David Weisbrot AM, former President of the Australian Law Reform Commission 

Professor David Weisbrot AM, President, Australian Law Reform Commission, and Dr Gene Sherman reflecting on the successful 'night of animal law'
Prof David Weisbrot AM, former President, Australian Law Reform Commission, and Dr Gene Sherman AM reflecting on Voiceless’s ‘night of animal law’ in 2009

We are so very grateful for the enormous contribution that Brian made to this world through his vision, integrity, compassion and generosity. – Lyn White AM, Animals Australia  

The impact, inspiration and light that Brian has shone on the lives of all beings, is immeasurable. – Shatha Hamade, Legal Counsel, Animals Australia

This is a devastating loss to both the humans and the animals of the world.  I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of Voiceless and to work for Brian. …will always remember Brian’s immense wisdom and kindness.Katy Wood, former Voiceless team member

I loved working with Brian, and feel beyond lucky to have known him. A most remarkable being, with a giant heart and unwavering ambition to change the world. I am so grateful to him, and continue to be inspired by him. – Sarah Margo, animal lawyer and Voiceless Director 

Brian was one in a million. A brilliant and kind leader and advocate, who had a deep love for all animals and a burning determination to seek justice on their behalf. It was my honour and privilege to work alongside him. Like so many animal lawyers, I am indebted to Brian for his incredible contributions to the growth of animal law in Australia, and I am so thankful for the constant support, faith and encouragement he gave to me during my years at Voiceless. His cheeky grin and heart of gold will be missed dearly. – Dr Meg Good, Voiceless Legal Counsel and Head of Programs/Legal Counsel at Australian Alliance for Animals

What an incredible man your father was and Voiceless’ work for animals is unparalleled. Brian was an inspirational and exceptional human being.  – Lara Goodridge, musician and Voiceless Major Donor 

What a compassionate, beautiful soul. His voice for animals was so powerful entering into the boardrooms and offices of corporate giants where life is normally silenced out. Yours and his creating of Voiceless will remain such an important legacy as it continues. It has changed society’s understanding of our relationship with animals and opened up our ability to speak about it. – Janet Laurence, artist 

I have the utmost respect for Brian and his work, especially his contributions to Voiceless and his efforts in animal protection. – Ai Wei Wei, artist and Voiceless Patron

It is with deep sadness that the animal protection community mourns the loss of one of its most impactful, generous and kind leaders. On behalf of the community, we extend our sincere gratitude for the incredible contributions Brian made to the cause over the past two decades. The animal law landscape, in particular, would be far less developed without Brian’s significant and unwavering support. Generations of Australian animal lawyers are indebted to his vision. – Australian Alliance for Animals

Brian’s inner being compelled him to work tirelessly to make this world a better place…An extraordinary man has lived an exemplary life – may his memory be a blessing, and his legacy live on forever through his beloved family, dear friends, and all of us graced by his kind, gentle, thoughtful goodness.Jeffrey B. Kamins OAM, Senior Rabbi at Emanuel Synagogue in Sydney and Voiceless Director.

Brian was undoubtedly a successful businessman but also a great philanthropist and an exceptional human being. His passing will not only be felt by those closest to him but by the wider Australian community as well. – Jo and Ric Easton, Voiceless Supporters.

In October 2022, The Hon. Emma Hurst MP tabled a motion in NSW Parliament expressing condolences on the loss of Brian. The motion has officially passed in NSW Parliament and can be read here: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-90291/link/2254

“Heart, generosity and openness”: Brian Sherman’s legacy – 10 OCTOBER 2022 – University of Technology https://www.uts.edu.au/partners-and-community/alumni-and-supporters/news/heart-generosity-and-openness-brian-shermans-legacy

My recollection is a very kind and humble man who dealt with everyone equally, gratefully and with due regard – and with a special and spontaneous kindness to animals. Animals and the animal protection movement are privileged that you both had the conviction to found Voiceless and to rally people from all walks of life to support the organisation and speak on behalf of the voiceless.  People who otherwise may not have realised the deep injustices that so many non-human species suffer. Brian’s name and legacy will live on in Voiceless, you and the many like-minded friendships and partnerships formed – and the animals he so loved. – Carole de Fraga, Animalia.

I had such great respect for Brian and will always remember the meeting we had together many years ago and of course, your great kindness to the bears. You and Brian indisputably blazed a trail for helping farm animals especially, and while you have faced a difficult path, the legacy he has left has opened many, many doors for redemption and change that already is seeing, and will continue to see, great progress in our time. – Jill Robinson, Founder and CEO, Animals Asia.

In a heart-breaking Voiceless blog post, Ondine Sherman pays tribute to her father, Brian Sherman AM, here.

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