Rod Bennison has been involved in animal protection issues since the late 1970s, from the sidelines to being deeply immersed in animal rights activism. His work experience has taken him from government department, into party politics, to HIV/AIDS and drug law reform activism, and most notably his active roles in several environmental groups. He was a sessional academic for 13 years and now manages a dedicated and tight-knit team of environmental scientists in an engineering and environmental consulting firm based in the Hunter Valley on Australia’s eastern seaboard.
His doctoral thesis was entitled Ecological Inclusion and examined the interrelationships that exist between human and nonhuman animals, with particular attention drawn to the historical nature of those interrelationships. He has a strong interest in the intersection of animal and environmental protection, particularly the rationale of why some human animals view some nonhuman animals and plants as pests, feral, weeds or invasive, as being somehow ‘out of place’.
Rod has extensive, established networks and friendships with many academics in the field of Animal Studies, and with animal and environmental activists. This has come about from his dedication to animal and environmental protection over the years and especially his co-convenorship with Dr Jill Bough of the first Minding Animals Conference held in Newcastle, Australia, in 2009, the follow-up Utrecht conference held in the Netherlands in 2012 and MAC3 in New Delhi, India, in 2015. This is not to forget his participation in many of the myriad partner events associated with Minding Animals. Rod now helps steer Minding Animals International, which he founded in 2010 after the Newcastle conference.