-By Sarah Lucas, founder and CEO of AFD.
It’s hard to believe it was five years ago that Action for Dolphins (or, as we knew it then, ‘Australia for Dolphins’) was founded.
I first went to Taiji at the end of 2012. I managed to rope my dad, a huge animal lover, into coming to see the dolphin hunts we had both been so shocked by in The Cove.
I remember standing on the shore watching the hunts, back then not as covered up as today, and Dad shaking his head in horror, saying “this has to stop”. That night we went to dinner and scribbled down ideas on a used newspaper, and soon we’d hatched AFD.
So much has changed since then. On a personal level, my dad passed away from brain cancer in 2015.
It felt really hard to keep AFD going for a time. But by then Jordan, Angie and Stephie had joined the team. They picked up the ropes and gave AFD a whole new life. And by then the AFD family included wonderful and caring people from around Australia and the world.
Thanks to their incredible support, we went on that year to launch a global legal action which stopped 62 aquariums being able to buy more dolphins from Taiji.
Now in 2018 we have 7 people on the team working on many exciting projects, from legal action to stop the Taiji hunts for good, to building Australia’s first dolphin sanctuary, to campaigning for the removal of dolphin-killing shark nets on our beaches.
I don’t think you could find a more passionate and hard-working team than AFD’s – or more committed supporters – and I’ve honestly never been more excited about the impact AFD will have for animals in the future.
And speaking of animal welfare and the future, I also wanted to let you know I have recently taken up an exciting part-time role at a company I think is going to have a huge impact for animals, called Mosa Meat.
Mosa Meat is a Dutch company of amazing scientists who are developing “cultured meat” (real meat grown directly from animal cells, without harming the animal). In 2013 Mosa unveiled the world’s first cultured meat hamburger at a press conference in London. Now they are working hard to introduce a cultured meat hamburger to the market by 2021.
If they’re successful, their work could see the end of cruel factory farms and the process of slaughtering animals for food altogether. On top of that, the production process is projected to generate far fewer greenhouse gases, and could really help combat climate change.
There’s also work being done in the US on cultured fish with the goal of reducing overfishing. This would also reduce the number of discarded fishing nets, a major threat to dolphins and whales.
I think this is such an exciting prospect, and so I’m thrilled to be getting involved as Mosa Meat’s Head of Strategy and Communications.
However, AFD, the organisation I started, of course remains my life and my passion, and I will still spend the majority of my time on AFD.
Which is just as well, as we have never been more busy. In October we’re launching our biggest project ever – please stay tuned. We’ve also been making progress on the dolphin sanctuary and the northern NSW shark nets, and I’m really looking forward to updating you soon.
But until then, I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on the last 5 years and say a heartfelt thank you to all of AFD’s wonderful supporters, many of whom have been friends of AFD for years. We’ve really enjoyed meeting many of you.
Here’s to the next 5 years working together, and many more wins for dolphins!