Sentient Student Member, President of the Wildlife Conservation Society (Uni of Melb)
My name is Ruby Lovelock, and I’m a first year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Melbourne.
I came across Sentient after rereading Peter Singers’ ‘Animal Liberation’, which reignited the desire I had to be a part of a veterinary body in which animal ethics was at the forefront, and animal welfare was consistently a first priority. Sentient, as an independent veterinary run animal welfare organisation, is an invaluable resource and community that enables an essential voice in finding solutions to animal welfare issues.
My personal passion for animals and advocating for improved animal welfare is a theme that has run throughout my life and shows no sign of stopping. I became vegetarian at 14 years old after witnessing a transport truck full of cows heading to slaughter, a sight that struck home the reality of what meat really was and where it came from. From there on in, I had a penchant for animal ethics, and I originally began my university career studying Philosophy with an intent to write on the issues. However, the more I learnt, the more I realised that I needed to be doing something more practical and directly involved. I chose to study veterinary medicine so that I will hopefully be able to implement creative and pragmatic solutions to animal welfare problems, and impact animals’ lives positively every day.
An area of animal welfare that I am particularly interested in is that of wildlife conservation. When I can, I volunteer with Wildlife Victoria as a wildlife rescue and transport person, and I am the President of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) at the University of Melbourne. There are so many facets to the challenge of conserving our native fauna – climate change, invasive species, land-clearing for agriculture, urban expansion, logging, native meat industries, and recreational hunting all represent significant hurdles. Yet, with every new person I meet in the field of wildlife conservation, and animal ethics, I am inspired by the dedication, perseverance, and optimism that accompanies what is often hard and thankless work.
The WCS is currently focussing on a local issue – the conservation of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum (the Victorian state emblem no less), and now the threatened Greater Glider. We are gathering student support for the creation of the Great Forest National Park, and advocating for businesses, institutions, and organisations to sign an Ethical Paper pledge and avoid using Reflex paper sourced from our Victorian mountain ash forests that provide such critical habitat for many of our native critters. Australia has one of the world’s worst rates of native extinction and I think it is imperative that we do what we can to halt this trend.
There are so many outstanding people working toward solutions for wildlife conservation issues, and animal welfare issues in all sectors, and I’m thrilled to have the privilege of talking to, engaging with, and being represented by organisations such as Sentient whom embody the prerogative that all veterinarians (and those in training!) have to think and act ethically.
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” – Jane Goodall