Creating a Kinder World by Ondine Sherman

Creating a Kinder World by Ondine Sherman

As a small girl, shy and freckled, I was enticed and enchanted by the world of animals.

Like many children, I had a special connection with my dog, Bronnie, and I fantasised that I could talk to her, to all animals, enter her world and be as one. At age five, I wrote a picture book from the perspective of an ant, and later saw myself caring for orphaned lion cubs, like in the film I adored, Born Free. I debated whether I wanted to live in the wild savannahs of Africa or in a rose-covered cottage in countryside England, like my idol Beatrix Potter. Any imagined life was surrounded by creatures, not people.

When I was seven, my grandmother served us tongue, a traditional eastern European dish, and my first light-bulb flashed – meat is animals. I was eating my soul mates. I pronounced myself vegetarian on the spot, and if my family hoped it was a phase they had yet to see my force of will. It was 1981 and not the best time to be veggie in carnivorous Australia. Sad but determined, I gave up my favourite meat pies from the tuck shop, ate empty burger buns at classmates’ birthday parties and grew accustomed to the teasing.

My next aha moment arrived at eleven when, walking the Sydney streets with my father, I came across a table with leaflets and petitions. Stopping to look, I was consumed by the horrors of factory farming and signed up to receive Animal Liberation’s magazine, Outcry. Lying on the floor of my pink bedroom, I inhaled the pages, deeply shocked by the images of broken limbs, cages, concrete and wire. I tacked their poster to my wall: The chicken in your freezer has more room now than it did when it was alive. I knew cows, sheep and pigs were no different to Bronnie; they felt the same pain, fear, joy, and love. I couldn’t imagine my dog being treated like that: locked in a cage her entire life, unable to move freely or even go outside, having her tail cut off or teeth pulled out without anaesthetic. My letter to the editor was published in the next edition: I never knew people could do such rotten things to animals. If I was older I would really give those people a hard time.

That calling, that passion, never waned. By age fifteen, I was increasing my activity. With my friend Danielle, we skipped school and hitched a six-hour ride to protest duck hunting in West Wyalong, where we camped and rowed boats onto the wetlands to rescue injured water birds. I held a bird in my hand, blood seeping from her beak, as she died in my arms. Danielle and I moved onto other forms of activism, from waving banners at protest marches to sneaky activism at the Opera House that we invented ourselves. We would go to opening night at the opera and gently place small stickers, which we’d prepared beforehand, onto the ladies’ fur coats. They continued to elegantly sip their wine not realising that our words ‘Fur is Murder’ were plastered on their backs. We’d hightail it out of there, giggling and smug before we were discovered.

My protest life was short lived as my shy introverted character wasn’t so well suited to the big crowds, confrontations and larger-than-life actions. I was never going to be the type to stand with a megaphone and lead a charge.

As an adult, I realised how activism comes in a plethora of forms, each one powerful and necessary. When combined, they create lasting change. I founded Voiceless with my father Brian Sherman in 2004 and we built a network of influential Australians from the highest levels of science, law, business and the arts dedicated to raising awarenessof animal protection. Together, we created an organisation focused solely on advocating for animals, stopping cruelty and preventing suffering, and my childhood promise, my dream, came true. My small beginnings turned into something big and proud.

Through the power of words, I hope to spark aha moments for others in my writing, especially young people, and inspire them to question essential ethical issues.

Animal protection is the social justice movement of our time and I aspire to play my part in creating a kinder world.

Purchase a copy of Snow | Read our review

Ondine is the co-founder and managing director of Voiceless, the animal protection institute. She is a life-long animal advocate, passionate about promoting respect and compassion for all creatures. Ondine holds a BA in Communications and MA in Environmental Studies. She is an ambassador for Action for Dolphins and director of conservation NGO This is My Earth (TiME), and writes regularly about animal protection in the media.

Ondine grew up in Sydney and now lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and three children. Her mischievous street cats, loyal dogs and ex-battery chickens all keep her extraordinarily entertained.

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    Publisher details

    Snow
    Author
    Ondine Sherman
    Publisher
    Pantera Press
    Genre
    Young Adult Fiction
    Released
    15 July, 2019

    Synopsis

    Sometimes you have to leave everything behind to find yourself.Sky is travelling to Alaska to meet her father for the first time.Far away from her friends back in Australia, she navigates the new relationship with her father and meets Jaxon, a local boy struggling with his own problems. In a cold, vast and beautiful place, they are isolated except for the wild animals who live there.As Sky gets to know her father, she finally feels she has a chance of having a real family again. But her father has a secret that threatens everything Sky holds dear. Will she have to choose between family and her love of animals?This is a heart-warming story in the coldest of places.Book 2 in the Animal Allies series.

    Publisher details

    Sky
    Author
    Ondine Sherman
    Publisher
    Pantera Press
    Genre
    Fiction
    Released
    15 April, 2019

    Synopsis

    After her mother’s death, Sky leaves her city life to move in with her aunt and uncle in a small Australian town. When her mum was alive, Sky knew who she was: she was kind-hearted and full of a passion for justice, especially the rights of animals. She was also a vegan whose hero was Jane Goodall. And until recently she preferred the company of dogs to boys.But being a vegan and trying to fit into her new home isn’t easy. Her aunt has forgotten she doesn’t eat meat, and Sky is desperately lonely without her mother and friends. It seems the only way to fit in and make friends is to pretend to be someone she’s not.When Sky starts to investigate the local chicken farm for a school project, the cruelty she witnesses goes to the very heart of who she is. She knows she has to do something, but what? Can one single act really make a difference?As she struggles between her desire to belong, and her desire to remain true to her values, can Sky find the true courage it takes to stand up for what she believes in and be true to herself?
    Ondine Sherman
    About the author

    Ondine Sherman

    Ondine Sherman is the co-founder and managing director of Voiceless, the animal protection institute. She is a life-long animal advocate, passionate about promoting respect and compassion for all creatures. Ondine holds a BA in Communications and MA in Environmental Studies. She is an ambassador for Action for Dolphins and director of conservation NGO This is My Earth (TiME) and writes regularly about animal protection in the media.Ondine grew up in Sydney and now lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and three children.

    Books by Ondine Sherman

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    1. Alison says:

      Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for animal welfare.
      Best wishes
      Alison