Sentient’s President's ABC Interview

July 20, 2012



See full ABC story HERE


Katherine decided she wanted to be a vet when she was six years old.

It wasn't just a desire to work with the cute and the cuddly that sparked her interest, but the hope of giving animals a voice.


"I thought it would give me the best background [to] I guess be able to speak for animals with some degree of authority," she says.


As the cofounder and president of organisation Sentient, she's fulfilling that goal.

The institution represents veterinarians on animal ethics.


Katherine says she established Sentient with fellow colleagues last year because they didn't feel there was an adequate platform for vets to speak out about the treatment of animals.


"It's my view that veterinarians are uniquely equipped with the skills and knowledge to be able to tackle animal welfare issues and probably speak on behalf of animals in a way that other people can't.


"It is my opinion that our profession have not historically probably done enough to address animal welfare concerns and to speak on behalf of animals."


Katherine has recently been awarded the University of Sydney veterinary science faculty's young alumni award for showing leadership in the industry.


As part of her lobbying work with Sentient, she has made submissions to Senate inquiries and addressed politicians on issues such as the live export industry.


The use of animals in research, greyhound racing and intensive farming - including chickens, hens and pig farming - are just some of the other areas it's hoping to put on the national agenda.


Sentient also encourages vets to volunteer for places in need of help.

When Katherine went over to India to do de-sexing work as part of the government's rabies control program, she found major flaws in its infectious disease protocol.

She spent much of her time abroad overhauling procedures and policies - an experience which was fulfilling but confronting.


"It was quite a sad fact but none of the puppies or kittens that got presented to that shelter ever saw it to adulthood because they'd die of readily prevented and treatable infectious diseases."


"I think animal welfare is skyrocketing at the moment and the public are becoming increasingly aware and I would like to see our veterinary profession take more ownership of the issue."

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