Our History

Voiceless is the home of animal protection and animal law education. Today's youth will be tomorrow's change-makers. Voiceless works to educate and inspire a new generation to think critically and make positive changes for animals.

Over the past fifteen years, Voiceless has been at the forefront of creating a new social justice movement - animal protection.

We have been working at the cutting-edge of the movement since 2004, ensuring our vision of a respectful and compassionate world for animals becomes a reality. Fifteen years ago, the Australian animal protection movement was vastly different from today.

Voiceless is proud to have succeeded in achieving many of our original aims and objectives:

Empowering the animal protection movement and bringing it into the mainstream

  • Shining a spotlight on cruel industries;
  • Advancing legal protection for animals;
  • Raising public awareness via the media;
  • Increasing animal protection in science and technology.
  • Empowering the animal protection movement and bringing it into the mainstream.

Voiceless invested $2 million worth of seed grants and prizes in capacity-building organisations and advocates. We attracted a network of high-profile leaders in business, arts and science to lend their names and voices to the cause.

We supported over 150 projects that contributed towards the alleviation of animal suffering in Australia. The projects were at the forefront of animal protection and included scientific research, public awareness campaigns, law and policy, television and print advertisements and the publication of books and magazines. (Grants Archive coming soon).

Today, the movement is strong with a wide variety of professional, well-funded organisations and advocates successfully campaigning to make change.

Shining a spotlight on cruel industries

Voiceless’s in-depth scientific and legal reports into key animal cruelty issues (such as the pig, chicken and dairy industries as well as labelling laws) have been widely read, discussed, reported on in mainstream media and quoted in Parliament on numerous occasions. Our social-media campaigns on issues such as battery hens, kangaroos and sow-stalls, have also reached hundreds of thousands, causing widespread discussion and coverage in mainstream media. 

These campaigns involved the release of a number of key publications, including:

    With public recognition and reward from the Voiceless Media Prizes, mainstream journalists are now covering key animal issues with greater vigor, pace and enthusiasm, ‘lifting the veil of secrecy’ on hidden cruelty as we intended.

    Advancing legal protection for animals

    From 2007-2017, the Voiceless Animal Law Lecture Series was held across eight Australian cities, featuring nine international keynote speakers and animal law academics from across Australia. 

    The Lecture Series addressed a range of topics, including factory farming, ag-gag legislation, hunting and animals in politics.  

    The Series featured a number of high profile lawyers and public figures including The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG, Her Excellency Professor Marie R Bashir AD CVO and Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

    Today, Voiceless is continuing to ensure animals are protected by the law through our Legal Education work.

    For fifteen years, Voiceless actively lobbied the Australian government to create positive change for animals in legislation and called for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. We actively engaged with politicians to promote progressive law and policy, and wrote numerous in-depth submissions to Government on a range of law and policy reform issues. (Submissions Archive coming soon).

    Raising public awareness via the media

    With public recognition and reward from the Voiceless Media Prizes, mainstream journalists now cover key animal issues with greater vigor, pace and enthusiasm. They are ‘lifting the veil of secrecy’ on hidden cruelty as we had hoped and intended.

    The Voiceless Media Prizes recognised the most accurate and influential reports on factory farming, kangaroo hunting, animal law, live export and other important issues that affect animals in Australia, across broadcast, print, digital and online media.

    The successful nominees were stories that:

    • Addressed factory farming, food labelling and certification, live export, animal law including enforcement and governance, hunting, animal experimentation, animals in entertainment, animals killed for fashion; or
    • Built public understanding of animal sentience; or
    • Examined the ethical relationship between human and non-human animals.

      The winners were selected by a returning panel of judges, which included Professor J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature and Voiceless Patron. The Voiceless Media Prizes served to recognise the importance of raising these issues in mainstream media and to encourage accurate and hard-hitting journalism on animal protection matters. (Media Prize Archive coming soon).

      Increasing animal protection in science and technology

      From 2005 to 2012, Voiceless supported the Australian Museum's Eureka Prizes for outstanding achievements by the scientific community. The Voiceless Eureka Prize awarded $10,000 annually to an individual or research team whose work had contributed or had the potential to contribute, to animal protection. (Eureka Prize Archive coming soon).

      VOICELESS TODAY

      Today, Voiceless is proud to be the home of animal law and animal protection education, developing critical-thinking skills in our next generation of influencers and decision-makers. 

      Voiceless's Animal Law Education (ALE) is a multi-faceted program for law schools and students engaging lawyers in animal protection and issues in our legal systems. Through the law, we can seek better protection for animals.

      Voiceless's Animal Protection Education (APE) encourages students to think critically about animal protection. We provide teachers with the information and tools to explore the human-animal relationship in our society. APEs are created by educators for educators and aligned with the Australian high school curriculum.

      Learn more about Voiceless's new education focus and why it's a powerful method to create positive change for animals.