The Executive and founding members of Sentient began their work together as animal advocates in 2004, when Adele, Katherine and Rosemary met during their undergraduate training as veterinarians at the University of Sydney. All three undertook this degree to pursue a lifelong passion for animals and commitment to improving their wellbeing. They soon became active members of VSAW (‘Veterinary Science for Animal Welfare’), the faculty-based student organisation, and formed its executive committee in 2006 and 2007.  Over these two years they conducted campaigns against the live export and whaling industries, led a student critique of the draft national Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Pig, and liaised with veterinarians, animal scientists and animal welfare organisations to host a range of seminars. These encompassed issues facing wildlife, companion animals, birds, racing greyhounds, pigs, farmed bears in Asia and exported livestock, as well as presentations on animal behaviour, equitation science, humane alternatives in veterinary training, animal rights and the role of veterinarians in the animal welfare movement. Throughout this period Matt provided constant support through his shared commitment and his expertise in marketing and management. 

 

Since graduation, the four have remained friends. Strong bonds were formed by being directly confronted with animal suffering and learning firsthand how societal forces are biased towards the needs of powerful ‘stakeholders’ over those of vulnerable animals. Balancing this was a shared conviction that change is possible, and recognition that a new social justice movement was taking place, reflected by shifting consumer choices and the work of other professionals, such as the burgeoning field of animal rights law. Reminiscing about their student activist days led to the idea of some renewed joint effort and finally, to grappling with the core question - how could they facilitate veterinarians to independently play their role as leading animal advocates in this movement towards a world where animals are treated with empathy and respect? This was the impetus for forming Sentient.

About us

Dr Katherine van Ekert - BVSc (Hons 1)

Secretary

Katherine’s passion for animal welfare began at a young age and led her to pursue a degree in Veterinary Medicine, through which she also completed an honours degree in native Australian animal health. At university she became president of the student-based animal welfare group ‘Veterinary Science for Animal Welfare’. Since graduation, Katherine has worked as a veterinarian in various mixed and small animal practices, including the RSPCA. She has also undertaken volunteer positions abroad, including rabies control programs and tuition of local veterinarians in India, and a veterinary outreach service for the homeless in San Francisco. Katherine lives in the US where she runs a veterinary house call startup, VetPronto.

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Dr Adele Lloyd - BVSc, BEng (Hons)

Vice President

Adele first graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in the UK but her strong passion for the welfare of animals eventually led her to completing a degree in Veterinary Science. Whilst at university, Adele was an active member, treasurer and then vice president of the student based animal welfare group 'Veterinary Science for Animal Welfare', and a representative on the faculty's Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.  Adele is now a Shelter Veterinarian with a special interest in animal behaviour and solving companion animal welfare issues within communities. Travel with her husband Matt has led them both to working at animal rescue centres in the UK, Uganda and Fiji. One highlight was being part of the annual health checks at an orphaned chimpaneze sanctuary. Adele's intent is to help in anyway she can in the hands-on care of animals with a strong focus on working towards changing global animal welfare issues.

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Dr Rosemary Elliot - BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (Animal Welfare), MPsych (Clin), BA (Hons)

President

Due to her devotion to animals and fascination with their behaviour, Rosemary studied veterinary science at the University of Sydney after establishing her career as a clinical psychologist. As a student, she was an executive of the student organisation ‘Veterinary Science for Animal Welfare’ and student representative of the faculty’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. After graduating, her honours research led to the first published study of greyhound adoption. Her experiences during veterinary training fostered an ambition to focus directly on animal welfare and ethics. Rosemary now combines her psychology background and veterinary skills to contribute to the animal protection movement and she co-founded Sentient in 2011. She is now an independent member of the Veterinary Faculty’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (Animal Welfare) and promotes animal welfare through writing, research and presentations. Her particular interests are animal sentience, the human-animal bond and the plight of production animals.  

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Matthew Lloyd

Public Officer

 

 

Matt’s affiliation to animals was realised at a young age and led to him volunteering his time at a vet practice in his during holidays whilst at high school. He later travelled through Indonesia and found himself volunteering at an Orang-utan Sanctuary in Sumatra. His enjoyment in helping animals also lead him on his travels to living and working at animal rescue centres in the UK with his wife Adele, and together they spent time in Uganda volunteering at a street dog rescue and a chimpanzee sanctuary. He has a current role in corporate environmental management and has strong background in cultural alignment, marketing and strategic development. He is also a dedicated photographer and intends to use his skills to contribute wherever possible to a global agenda of improved animal welfare.

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Our President