Father’s Day Tributes for Two Compassionate Dads

Posted by on June 15, 2014 | Permalink

Our fathers play a vital role in shaping our lives and the way we see the world. In honour of Father’s Day, we’re paying tribute to two very special dads who have gone out of their way to protect and defend animals in need and taught their kids that kindness truly is a virtue.

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University of Leicester professor John Benyon, 63, was nominated by his daughter Danielle, who said of her parents, “It was their influence that helped me become the animal lover I am”. When John learned of an impending badger cull in the area, he refused to just sit around and moan about it – he knew he had to take action. He made weekly donations to groups on the ground, wrote to his MP and organised a boycott of his local Morrisons after he learned that it was supporting the cull. John and his wife adopted a vegetarian diet during the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis after being appalled that animals were being treated as disposable commodities, and they haven’t touched meat since. 

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Chris Burkes, 54, is a painter, decorator and father of seven from King’s Lynn. He was nominated by his daughter Lina, who wrote us a moving letter describing how important it was to her father that he raise his family vegetarian, later transitioning them all to a vegan diet, and how they were taught to respect animals. Lina recalls, “Pretty much the only thing I’ve ever seen my dad cry about is animals who he has loved and lost or the exploitation of animals in general”. Over the years, Chris has offered shelter and relief to many animals in need, including countless birds, baby hedgehogs, rescued cats and all manner of other waifs and strays. He also started a petition for the release of Marius the giraffe from the Copenhagen Zoo. 

We sent both John and Chris a huge box of vegan chocolates to thank them for being the definition of good dads! If someone in your family is notable for his or her compassion, let us know in the comments.