Lynda Stoner can remember the exact moment that led her to become one of Australia’s leading animal rights activists.
“It was nearly 40 years ago and I was visiting my parents’ place in South Australia. The TV was showing footage of harp seal pups being battered and skinned alive. I just couldn’t get it out of my head.
“When I got back to Melbourne, where I was living at the time, I bought a copy of Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation and read the first three chapters in the back of the cab before I even got home. That was it, I stopped eating meat straight away.”
Lynda had just started working on Cop Shop, the hottest new show on Australian TV. She was already known for her work on The Young Doctors and The Paul Hogan Show but Cop Shop propelled her to new heights as one of the country’s most famous actors – not to mention the sex symbol of a generation.
“It was funny because I was being sent to do TV interviews to promote Cop Shop but all I wanted to talk about was animal rights,” she recalls.
After Cop Shop, roles on The Flying Doctors, Prisoner and Chances followed, but the nation’s favourite blonde bombshell had much more to offer. In an eloquent yet relatable way, Lynda educated countless Australians on the horrors of factory farming and abattoirs via her media appearances, and was ultimately offered a role as a lobbyist at Animal Liberation NSW (ALNSW).
Today, Lynda is the organisation’s CEO – a position that encompasses everything from directing campaigns to answering phones.
“You never know where the day will take you,” she says. “You might have certain things planned but someone will ring up about an atrocity happening to cattle out the back of Bourke and the whole day will go off on a tangent.”
Last year, ALNSW exposed the horrific practices of Hawkesbury Valley Abattoir. Shocking footage taken by the group aired on ABC-TV’s Lateline and led to new laws requiring animal welfare officers at every NSW abattoir.
Now the general public has a chance to help the organisation continue such work, with the annual ALNSW fundraiser scheduled for World Animal Day (Friday, October 4) in the Grand Hall at Sydney Boy’s High School.
Dubbed ‘Animals and Art’, this year’s event will feature master didgeridoo player Russell Dawson, readings by poet and novelist David Brooks, paintings by Animal Liberation founder Christine Townend, composer/conductor Kerry Woodward, pianist Simon Marlow and much more.
Says Lynda: “This is a great chance for us to raise some much-needed funds and host a fabulous night out at the same time!”
Animals and Art commences 6.30pm Friday, October 4. Tickets $45. RSVP essential: email@example.com or (02) 9262 3221.