Katherine van Ekert

Graduate Katherine van Ekert
  • Studied: Vet Science
  • Now works as: Veterinary Officer for Animal Welfare at the Department of Primary Industries, Victoria.

Katherine’s passion for animal welfare led her to pursue a Veterinary Science degree, where she was awarded an Honours degree in 2008 in native Australian animal health. She was the highest-ranking female student of the year and gained a place on the Dean’s list. During her studies, she became President of the student-based animal welfare group ‘Veterinary Science for Animal Welfare’, as well as a Golden Key International Honour Society member.
Her passion for improving animal well-being soon involved Katherine, as an animal advocate, in campaigns against live export and whaling industries, and education projects with fellow animal scientists on issues such as racing greyhounds, farmed bears in Asia, and exported livestock.

Since graduation, Katherine has worked in mixed and small animal practices, including the RSPCA Hunter, Newcastle Animal Emergency, Williams River, Irrawang, and Lorn Veterinary Clinics. Currently she works in the Department
of Primary Industries, Victoria, as a Veterinary Officer for Animal Welfare, pursuing her interest in animal welfare policy. In 2011, she also spent time working in India, at the Blue Cross Animal Shelter and the Worldwide Veterinary Services, where she trained local veterinarians in desexing procedures and oversaw the development and implementation of policies within shelters.

At the age of 25, Katherine became cofounder and President of the veterinary driven organisation Sentient - The Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics. Katherine works towards providing a forum and proactive lobby group
for veterinarians to collaborate and contribute towards the broader social justice movement. It is a unique entity internationally, and aims to bring the recognition of animals as sentient beings to the national agenda, and to ensure that their needs are ethically addressed by governments, industry and the public. Sentient’s areas of focus primarily centre on the live animal export trade, companion animal welfare and intensive farming systems. Katherine and her fellow members are acting entirely voluntarily, and beyond professional duty.