NSW's new vegan politician focused on animals rights

VEGAN bodybuilder and newly elected NSW upper house member Emma Hurst wants to reduce the kangaroo population with contraceptives, slowly transition the dairy industry to "plant based farming", and eventually phase out the production of eggs in Australia.

The Animal Justice Party member will join her Legislative Council colleague Mark Pearson on the crossbench for an eight year term and says animal rights will be their major focus.

Preventing puppy farming, stopping kangaroo culling, banning caged chickens, improving quality of life for dairy cows and stopping deforestation to assist koalas are her immediate priority.

Newly elected Upper House member Emma Hurst is a bodybuilding vegan. Picture: Instagram/@emma.hurst
Newly elected Upper House member Emma Hurst is a bodybuilding vegan. Picture: Instagram/@emma.hurst

 

Ms Hurst has detailed bold plans which will be her focus on the crossbench. Picture: Instagram/@emma.hurst
Ms Hurst has detailed bold plans which will be her focus on the crossbench. Picture: Instagram/@emma.hurst

Ms Hurst said the culling of kangaroos for commercial, population and farming reasons should be stopped, and suggested contraceptives as a more humane method of population control.

"Non-lethal solutions such as immunocontraceptives, darting, essentially desexing those kangaroos to reduce population numbers," she told The Daily Telegraph.

"There has been a lot of research into these methods and it suggests that they could be more effective … It's more costly upfront, but over a longer time period it will actually reduce costs."

Ms Hurst said her party would push to introduce "tough" anti-puppy farming legislation and was focused on stopping the caging of chickens who lay eggs.

"The first step is to get hens out of cages, it's just a hideous practice, but I think there will be a reduction in the consumption of eggs over time just as people sort of seem to be naturally changing their diet," she said.

She has plans to eventually phase out all production of eggs in Australia. Picture: Carly Earl
She has plans to eventually phase out all production of eggs in Australia. Picture: Carly Earl

Ms Hurst said there were too many dairy farmers in Australia and said the ones "struggling to make ends meet" would be better off exiting the sector.

"Hopefully that's something we can work to in regards to a dairy exit scheme to support farmers and help them transition into plant based forms of farming," she said.

"The dairy industry is a very difficult one, obviously with the treatment of the calves, the constant impregnation of mother dairy cows, its continual cruelty, so we need to find a solution."

Ms Hurst supported the vegan protests that happened earlier this month. Picture: AAP Image/Ellen Smith
Ms Hurst supported the vegan protests that happened earlier this month. Picture: AAP Image/Ellen Smith

Ms Hurst, who has been a vegan for 19 years, said she supported the recent vegan protests in Melbourne which were conducted peacefully, but said she did not support "any illegal behaviour" like the invasion of farms by activists.

She also supported the recent climate change protests by schoolchildren around the world, who took the day off school to make their views known.

"This is their planet longer than it is for ours, so it's really essential for them to be able to have a voice in this," Ms Hurst said.

She also supported school kids who protested around the world on climate change. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter
She also supported school kids who protested around the world on climate change. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter

She entered four bodybuilding competitions last year in the bikini category, and said her career as an amateur bodybuilder was now being placed on hold to focus on the Legislative Council.

"I am still aiming to keep a very active and healthy lifestyle, but the time needed for something like that (bodybuilding) is a quite big dedication, and my main focus now is the animals," Ms Hurst said.

"(Bodybuilding) was a really good experience, it involved working out twice a day, and weighing and measuring all of your food and having a very structured food plan … so I probably won't have time to do it again unfortunately."



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