Ashley Avci

“To make the world a fairer and safer place for animals has been my goal in life since childhood. I have a particular interest in helping the most disadvantaged and marginalised and have consistently advocated for the most misunderstood animals on the planet.”

Ashley has completed a Bachelor of Environment and Bachelor of Laws with honors from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She has a particular interest in aquatic animal law and the illegal wildlife trade.

Prior to commencing study, Ashley led an international team of volunteers, documenting the annual dolphin slaughters and captures in Taiji, Japan with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Upon return to Australia, Ashley founded not-for-profit Shark Conservation Australia with the aim to advocate for stronger legal protections for shark species through education, the law and advocacy.

Ashley has worked as a media, policy and legislative advisor for a State Member of Parliament who was the first to table legislation in relation to the shark fin trade and drafted legislation to outlaw dolphin captivity and puppy farming. She is volunteer President of Shark Conservation Australia and continues to advocate for sharks. She is currently working on national legislation to outlaw the trade of IUCN listed shark species. You can listen to Ashley’s current campaign on ‘Shark girl’ Madison Stewart’s ‘Shark Stories’ podcast episode titled ‘What is Legal?’.

Ashley is an experienced speaker and presenter. She has presented at universities, conferences, organisations and at formal events with crowds of up to five hundred people. Her highlight has been holding an ‘Animal Welfare’ workshop for university students at the ‘Compassionate Leadership and Advocacy Conference’; she co-hosted this event with keynote speaker Dr. Jane Goodall. Ashley has also worked with the Jane Goodall Institute Australia on their Forever Wild campaign and was personally presented an award by Dr. Jane Goodall for her legal research on the international wildlife trade.

Ashley is also a research associate and consultant, specialising in natural hazards, environmental management and building resilience. She conducts projects requiring direct engagement with communities to provide recommendations to improve natural hazards using behaviour change strategies. Ashley recently presented at the Australia and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference on how the media portrayed biodiversity, livestock and companion animals during the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires, based on her work with World Animal Protection Australia. She has consulted for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Action for Dolphins and currently consults for World Animal Protection Australia and Project Hiu, an international charity seeking to provide shark fisherman with an alternative income in tourism.

Ashley is one of 137 global experts that co-authored ‘Defining Terms Used for Animals Working in Support Roles for People with Support Needs’, recently published in Animals.

She is a recipient of the Animal Law Advocates Advanced Degree Scholarship / Online Animal Law Advanced Degree Ambassador Award. She is currently completing her practical legal training with the Animal Defender’s Office, the only animal-focused community legal centre in NSW.

In addition to law and advocacy, Ashley strongly believes in the power of media for raising awareness and creating change, and in her spare time pursues volunteer work in animal photojournalism.

“Out of sight, out of mind. Fish remain one of the worst-treated animals on Earth. It is the incomprehensible number of fish that suffer unfathomable fates that fuels me to seek stronger legal protections to improve the lives of these non-human animals”.