Written by Kim O’Connor
Weaving takes on animal cruelty – grants to help put an end to animal cruelty.
Actor Hugo Weaving has backed organisations working to change what he describes as "the hideous cruelty" of human treatment of animals.
Mr Weaving recently became the ambassador for Voiceless, a fund for animals, after he met businessman Brian Sherman and learnt of his fledgling campaign for animal rights.
"I asked him to keep in contact with me about it. I liked the fact the idea was to educate people about the whole thing," Mr Weaving said. "Once you’ve educated yourself to a certain level about the situation, you cannot turn back. The way in which we treat animals is so hideous. It’s like the slave trade. Many people knew about it and how wrong it was, but it took them a long time to get that situation changed. This is the same for the treatment of animals."
Mr Weaving said that adults could learn a lot from children, who have a strong conscience about cruelty inflicted by humans.
"My 11-year-old daughter watched a program about a woman who buys moon bears to save them from a terrible life in China ," he said. "The woman needed funds to save more bears, so the children at the school my daughter attends helped raise quite a lot of money which they sent over to help."
On Monday at the Sherman Gallery in Paddington, Mr Weaving, Mr Sherman and his daughter Ondine – the co-founder of Voiceless – presented grants totalling $140,000 to 17 organisations working to alleviate animal cruelty.
One grant of $20,000 went to Animal Liberation ACT to boost a campaign to ban the production of battery eggs in the Territory. Another $20,000 has gone to the Australian branch of Compassion in World Farming, and a third cheque to the Humane Society International which plans to introduce a certification label for the humane farming of animals.
Other grants were presented to the wildlife service WIRES, and campaigners who will raise public awareness about the suffering of female breeding pigs kept in cramped enclosures, lobbyists who aim to ban live exports from Tasmania and a woman who wants to develop vegan food products for pet cats and dogs.
"Millions of animals in Australia are suffering e very day in food, fibre and industrial complexes. Australians generally have a love of animals, but many do not know what the animals endure before they are slaughtered," Mr Sherman said.
He said that Voiceless was "overwhelmed" that 110 organisations around the country had applied for grants, which will be an annual event.