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Louise van der Merwe

Managing Trustee  |  The Humane Education Trust 
Director  |  Nature-Based Education, Cape Town, South Africa
Member  |  World Link Coalition
Editor  |  Animal Voice
Mobile  |  082 457 9177

AV  |
PBO No  |  930 130 004 237
VAT No  | 4940250600


Louise joined the Argus Group of newspapers as a cub reporter in 1969 and continued in mainstream journalism until 1984.
During this time, she spent eight years as Supreme Court reporter for The Star newspaper in Johannesburg, and also served as the newspaper’s foreign correspondent in London, Paris, and Washington DC.
In 1989, in the process of establishing The Humane Education Trust, she started the first newsletter in Africa focusing on the plight of chickens in battery cages. Initially titled ‘Humanity for Hens’, the newsletter evolved into the magazine ‘Animal Voice’ and in 1994, exposed the live-plucking of ostriches before slaughter.
See here:
This exposure resulted in an official ban on the practice. The vast coverage of institutionalized atrocities imposed on farm animals, is recorded in 87 issues of Animal Voice archived under ‘magazines’ on the website
They represent a professional, in-depth reflection on the social evolution, in a South African context, of attitudes towards famed animals over more than 34 years.

Some momentous achievements

2001 - 2002
Participation in the WCED’s Safe Schools programme.
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Two-year voluntary participation at the invitation of the Department of Education’s National Environmental Education Project, to include animal welfare, as part of Life Skills and Life Orientation, in the CAPS Curriculum.

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Recipient of ‘Campaigner of the Year Award’ presented by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

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Strenuous campaigning achieves an official ban on eggs from hens in cages by Woolworths.

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Recipient of the ‘Feather Award’ in recognition of ‘the tireless and selfless work to bring attention to the plight of animals in South Africa’, presented by The Female Tribe and First for Women Insurance Brokers.

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Recipient of Award for ‘Outstanding contribution and commitment to humane education and environmental awareness’ presented by the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Management Department.

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After strenuous campaigning Woolworths introduces a “Kinder to Sows” label for sows kept on loose housing and not in crates.

The launch of an online platform, Nature-based Education, where curriculum-aligned, humane education resources, approved by the Department of Education and included in its LTSM programme, can be downloaded in pdf format for free. As at July 2024  -  393 teachers and 325 schools are using this platform.

The Humane Education Trust is accepted as a stakeholder by UNESCO (AFRICA) with an invitation to present our work at its NATCOM meeting in April 2024. This is in response to the United Nations Charter on the Rights of the Child which has brought animal welfare into the Human Rights domain. Our website explains this development in detail.

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