The Ultimate Life Changer

Went to see my friend, and colleague Brian Sherman this week; founder of Voiceless animal rights activist group; former Director of Channel Ten and still a hot shot business identity. I interviewed him in the 80s when I was a finance journalist at the Financial Review. He was a young finance high flyer; I was an eager ambitious reporter. Both of us were obsessed with money, career and ego. 25 years later we meet again in Byron Bay and we have lunch. He was by then a staunch animal rights advocate, having moved from earthly concerns to a deeply spiritual position on the ecology of life; at the time I lived in a rainforest and had embraced Buddhism, preaching in my weekly column: “First do no harm!”

The lunch was extraordinary. He had me in tears over things he had witnessed as I did him — myself the daughter of a man who owned abattoirs and exported meat to the USA. I grew up thinking The Farm dad used to take us to, was a real farm. My younger sisters and I patted animals on their way to slaughter. We watched them cry and mourn for their young. It is now confirmed the animals do grieve, according to Psychology Today. Brian told me that all the animals ran up to him when he visited the abattoir, they were so happy to have someone kind and compassionate enter their space. “Once you’ve seen the suffering of those animals you forever hear and see them in your head. It haunts me. Human cruelty haunts me,” he told me then, and again the other day.

Brian has influenced me so much since that meeting, I can’t even feed my cats meat any more. Poor things are almost vegan. I consider Brian a National Treasure.


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5 Responses to The Ultimate Life Changer

  1. Ruth Ostrow 2 June 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Hi Deborah, I’m not Vegan but if you Google you will find lots of great stuff. I hang out with a lot of Vegan people and they tend to align themselves with the Raw Food movement which I was part of for a long time. Google Dr Gabrielle Cousens from the USA.

  2. Deborah 2 June 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Hello Ruth,
    I am interested to find out more about Veganism is Australia, could you recommend a link or two? -I may be moving in that direction,
    Thank you & Kind regards, Deborah

  3. Rob Moore 23 May 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    Hello Ruth,
    Is your father still with us? I would be very interested to know what he might put on here as a comment .

    I too am speechless(voiceless) as to what to say. Obviously Brian and all his supporters are decent well meaning people but what would they suggest the likes of my family do?I too do not tolerate cruelty to anything and our family- support money during the many droughts all went on buying feed for our animals

    Animals are born-they live -they die. You would believe in that they come back again -something that is a nice thought. Please don’t mix battery chicken production and pork with beef and lamb/mutton and tar us all as being evil!

    What about the refugee camps across the world- why not put this passion and energy into getting some decent food and hope into them as I am not convinced that there is the problem that you are portraying here in Aust today re animal welfare.

  4. Tony Y 27 April 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Ruth , once again you are not being balanced in your views or actions.
    I do believe cats are carnivorous animals , correct me if I’m wrong, to feed them an almost vegan diet is surely cruel. I am also sure that if your cats are not inside at least at night then they will be out doing what cats do best ,that is hunt and kill. Hopefully rats and mice are on the menu as my cat is doing her bit at keeping the almost plague proportion numbers down at present.

    Regard Tony

  5. Border Terrier 17 April 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Fantastic post, I love animals myself, always have.

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