Dr Di evans
Sentient Committee Member & Student Coordinator,
Co-founder of Vets Against Live Export (VALE),
RSPCA’s Animal Welfare Advocate
“We need to have a stronger and louder voice on animal welfare and ethics issues. As we see lawyers challenging welfare standards and laws, our profession is relatively silent on the disparity between how we treat different species. To remain as a credible and relevant source of opinion, we must separate any vested interests and a heavy reliance on science, to allow ourselves the freedom to explore ethical aspects in greater depth.”
It is this soul felt commitment that brought Di to Sentient. She had a vision for a stronger veterinary voice on animal welfare issues in Australia and was on the verge of establishing such a group when she became aware of Sentient.
Di also co-founded Vets Against Live Export (VALE) but was unable to declare this publicly as she was working for the WA Department of Agriculture and Food at that time.
Since joining RSPCA SA in May this year, as the new Animal Welfare Advocate, Di has been developing a volunteer education team. Education is close to her heart, as she developed (in her spare time) the Pets and People Education Program (PetPEP) over 20 years ago. Incidentally, she gave the program to the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) as a gift in the hope that the program would be promoted to teachers and vets to help raise awareness about pet care and pet owner responsibility with children.
Her other current roles encompass campaign development (including the cessation of jumps racing – see other article calling for equine vet support) and advocacy work, of which an important recent appointment has been as a member of the Minister’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.
In 2000, she completed her Master degree on welfare standards in pet shops and is believed to be the first Murdoch University (WA) graduate to pass the animal welfare chapter exams of the Australian & New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in 2008. In addition, she has been a former councillor with the RSPCA WA, a member of several Animal Ethics Committees in Perth and became a member of the Education and Training Working Group for the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy in 2007. Di has also lectured and tutored in Human and Animal Bioethics at Murdoch University and was their inaugural Animal Ethics Officer in 1990. She also spent several months as the Acting Director for the Murdoch Foundation for Continuing Veterinary Education.
Di’s move to the RSPCA in Adelaide was sparked by her experiences whilst undertaking volunteer work a couple of years ago in the UK for the animal advocacy group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). She reviewed the feasibility of CIWF lobbying (with the support of others) for EU mandatory labelling of pig and chicken meat based on method of production. Di recalls that the people she met and the atmosphere within the organisation were energising, convincing her that she needed to exit her government job to join a committed team where she could actively and freely advocate to improve the lives of animals.
Sentient welcomed Di as our Student Coordinator.