2016 – Tamara Kenneally
For as long as I can remember, animals have been my passion and my world. I was never really surrounded by animals in my family as a child, but I was just instinctively drawn to them. I felt I understood them and I wanted to know as much about them as possible. I spent my childhood devouring books about dogs and horses. I spent as much time with friend’s animals as possible. When I was given my first dog, I was overjoyed. I picked up my first camera at 15 years old so that I could capture my love for him and keep that joy of our bond together with me always. From then on, I have not put my camera down and capturing the truth and beauty of animals has become my life’s work.
The relationship between human and animals is something that is so pure and beautiful when it is based on kindness, yet it has also enabled humans to dominant animals in a way that causes immeasurable suffering to them when that relationship is based on greed.
With my photography, I try and capture the animals who are trapped in agricultural industries who are used only for their body parts. They are kept in confined spaces, shown no kindness, slaughtered early and are never allowed to know simple pleasures of being alive, like seeing the sky or feeling at one with the earth beneath them.
I am lucky enough to now share my life with many animals who have been rescued from the grips of animal agriculture. I have watched first hand how kindness can change the world of a tiny hen that has only ever seen darkness and fear. I have marveled at how a sheep so terrified from his past that he would shake in horror when he saw me has turned in to the friendliest and most confident sheep I know. We all respond to kindness – human and animal alike.
Being kind to animals encompasses so many things. It means choosing your food carefully and not contributing to the horror that animals experience when they are used to produce your food. It means looking at the animals you live with and making kind choices for their lives. It means respecting the earth and realizing that we share it with so many amazing animals who are trying to live just like we are doing. It means believing that animals are thinking, feeling beings who experience rich emotional lives, just like humans do.
I am proud to be the 2016 Be Kind To Animals Week Ambassador. It truly takes more from your heart to be unkind to an animal than to embrace kindness. Kindness makes your heart soar and gives more back to you (and to those around you) than you could ever realize.
2015 – Timmy Sheep
Pictured above: Timmy Sheep shaking hands with Pam Ahern (founder of Edgar’s Mission) upon agreeing to be the 2015 Ambassador.
For the past eight years Timmy has been a sterling ambassador for sheep everywhere, debunking the myth that his ovine species are dim witted, boring and one of a kind. Timmy has modestly accepted much love and praise including being voted the most huggable sheep in the world!! And for those who have met Timmy we are sure you will be pleased with our decision to make him our 2015 Ambassador.
Hi my name is Timmy and I came to a wonderful place called Edgar’s Mission on the 31st of August 2007. I was only about one week old, a few days earlier some kind folk had found me tired and weary by the side of the road. I was so young I cannot remember what brought me to that sorry state, but perhaps I fell of the back of a truck.
I quickly made friends with several other little lambs at Edgar’s Mission, they told me that they too were orphans and that there was nothing to be frightened of here, as the people were so kind. They told me I would be well fed and loved, I would have shelter when it is hot and if it got cold I would even get a little jacket to wear. My natural charm and friendly nature quickly came to the fore and I was asked if I would like to become an ambassador for sheep, that way I would be able to help the millions of other lambs and sheep that are not as lucky as me. Naturally enough
I agreed and I am very proud of the many friends I made at all the many markets and public events I attended.
2014 – Leon Trotsky
Pictured above: Leon Trotsky with Pam Ahern (founder of Edgar’s Mission)
Leon Trotsky is a brave and sweet boy who was too modest at first to agree to be our Kindness Ambassador for 2014. But, after discussing the job with Timmy Sheep (who has been an ambassador for many years with an impressive career of opening hearts and minds) Leon decided to say “I’ll do it!”. He realized that he was born to this role and that he should do all he could do to spread the message that animals, all animals, deserve kindness.
Hi my name is Leon,
I am only small and young but I have learned a lot about kindness. I live at a sanctuary where other rescued animal residents talk about their previous lives of fear, pain and misery. I was lucky…I was rescued at a very young age and since then I have only known gentleness and compassion. But, I accepted the job of ambassador so I could help those less fortunate than myself. I believe that all animals (human ones too) should be treated with respect and kindness no matter their colour, shape, size or level of intelligence. I love life! Thank you for listening to my message…and remember it is never too late to be kind.
Read Leon’s story of personal courage…
2013 – Peter Siddle
Pictured above: Peter Siddle with Boots Goat and Timmy the Sheep
Peter Siddle is a specialist right-arm fast bowler who plays for Victoria and Australia
My name is Peter Siddle and i’m an Australian Cricketer and the proud ambassador of the 2013 Be Kind to Animals Week.
My love of animals began at a young age but it wasn’t until early last year that I was awoken to the truth about factory farming and the other astonishing measures of cruelty that goes on behind closed doors and hidden from the eyes of the general public. Until then, I was never aware of the extent that humans will go to for profit and to benefit themselves at the expense of an animal.
The injustices animals all over the world face on a daily basis is what has driven me to make a difference. I made the first step to stand for change early last year when I became a vegetarian and I now eat a predominantly vegan diet. I made this change for not only the animals, but my health and the environment as well. Since doing so, I am fitter, stronger, faster and a better version of myself and I hope that by showing people through example they will make the decision to change to more animal friendly lifestyles like I have done.
They say you can tell the goodness of ones heart by how they treat those who can do nothing for them. Being kind to animals and treating them as companions rather than objects not only benefits them, but also ourselves. Animals are individuals just like all of us and no animal should be treated differently from another. They all have personalities, the ability to show joy, happiness and emotion and worst of all, pain and suffering. They are just as deserving of life as what we are and we are here to share the earth with them, not to exploit them.
We need to work together to broaden the circle of compassion to include all animals, not just household pets. I hope you will join me in getting behind Be Kind to Animals Week and taking steps to ensure the life of an animal(s) is changed for the better. Together, we can all make a difference.
2012 – Missy Higgins
pictured above Missy Higgins with Edgar’s Mission Founder Pam Ahern and Polly pig
“Missy” Higgins is an Australian pop singer-songwriter, musician and actress.
A special message from Missy:
Hi I’m Missy Higgins, the proud 2012 Be Kind To Animals Week Ambassador. Proud because I care about the well-being of animals and know that every caring Aussie does too. The first animals that really touched my life were my childhood dogs Snowy and Bindy, two gorgeous West-Highland White Terriers. They were half-sisters and had such a cute and funny relationship. At times they were inseparable, at other times they bickered like old ladies, but they were such a valued and treasured part of our family. I remember my brother would take Snowy out on his surf board, she loved sitting on the back of it as he paddled around! And scruffy Bindy and I were best friends, she came with me everywhere and gave me such unconditional love. Something I’ve come to realise over time with my experience with all animals, is that they, just like us, benefit so much from a little kindness. And in turn, we humans benefit so much from the relationship. Kindness can never be understated and I truly believe that kindness begets kindness. It’s good for the soul, to give it as well as to receive it.
Sometimes particular animals’ needs and lives seem very different to ours but ultimately they also feel pain and joy- emotions not too dissimilar from ours and just as valid. Being kind to animals is about fostering empathy for something less fortunate than us, and just as deserving of happiness. It’s about deciding to respect and protect them, and in doing so, enrich our own lives.
Please get behind BKTAW this year and do something special for animals, I look forward to doing it myself.
2011 – Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Pictured above: Edgar’s Mission Founder Pam Ahern, Jeffrey Masson and Zoro Lamb
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson is the bestselling author of 9 books on the emotional life of animals.
“I am constantly thinking about how we can enlarge our circle of compassion. Originally, it would seem, humans cared only about themselves (pure narcissism). Then a mate. Then immediate family. Then extended family. Then the tribe. Finally the nation. Rare is the human who goes beyond that. But those of us who care about animals, want to extend our altruistic tendencies, our mercy, our love, and our compassion to ALL sentient creatures who share the earth with us: the dogs and cats we play with, the birds we see and admire, the so-called farm animals (so-called because they never chose to be there), the fish in the sea, and yes, even the shell-fish who only very remotely resemble us.
The way we show this concern is that we do not want to harm these animals in any way, any more than we would want to harm a member of our family. This means that we don’t kill them for food. We don’t take their eggs, their milk, their young, their fur, their skin. We attempt, as far as is possible, to live with them in harmony. We do not exploit them. So we are vegetarians (and the next logical step) vegans. How did I come to this position? Simply by watching animals, and realizing how much they want to live, how much they avoid pain and suffering. Exactly like us. To inflict suffering on any of these animals merely to satisfy some desire of my own (for their flesh, or their fur, or their eggs) now seems to me almost barbaric. There is no reason why I need to do this. It is bad for them; it is bad for me; and now it is becoming increasingly clear to nearly everyone, it is bad for our planet.
Surely to extend the circle of compassion is of benefit to all. It is the next obvious evolutionary step for humankind, and I am glad to be participating. We may not see it come to fruition in our lifetime, but it will, I am convinced, eventually become the only sane way to live. I hope you agree”.
2010 – Marieke Hardy
Pictured above: Edgar’s Mission Founder Pam Ahern, Marieke Hardy and Mrs Peaches
Marieke Hardy screenwriter, columnist, broadcaster.
The first animal to change my life was a fictional dog.
His name was Timmy, and he lived a long and fruitful existence as the canine companion to four knockabout scamps named Julian, Dick, George, and Anne. Together they went on hundreds of adventures, foiling crooks, crash-tackling pirates and, on occasion, indulging in the sort of outrageously exciting picnics Heston Blumethal would probably turn his nose up at but the rest of us secretly covet.
Timmy was everything you’d want a companion animal to be – loyal, excitable, friendly (except to criminals, obviously – he had a canny knack for sniffing them out and occasionally dragging them by the scruff down to the local police station), and able to live apparently forever, thanks to the fertile imagination of Enid Blyton. He captured my heart and made me yearn for an equally feisty canine chum.
While my lack of crime-fighting abilities sadly hampered my dream of becoming a girl-plus-dog detective unit, my adoration of animals and their life-changing capacity only deepened. Over the years I have been lucky enough to share my world with several beautiful creatures – the love of my life being my current Staffy pal, the darling Bob Ellis – and it has been through liaising with them that I have opened my mind to other, less domestically accessible animals. I have met pigs and cows, goats and lion cubs, ferrets and turtles. I have sat with them and played with them, swum with them (not the cows, obviously) and smiled at them and, most importantly, I have allowed them to teach me about kindness.
As human beings we can and should learn from the way animals interact, care for each other and take simple pleasures from the important things in life – love, food, companionship, nature and family. How lucky we are to be allowed this wordless dialogue, this joyous burst of spiritual education.
You know that good feeling you get when you reach out to an animal and they respond with affection and trust? That’s your heart trying to tell you something. Listen to it.”
Marieke Hardy is a screenwriter, blogger, radio broadcaster and columnist. In addition to regular columns in The Age and on ABC’s The Drum;