Emma Hurst: The Politics of Animal Rights

“When I was a young girl I sat hugging a hen and I noticed that she was purring. I realized she showed joy in the same way as my cat. And the thought occurred to me that if I couldn’t eat my cat, I couldn’t eat this hen.The Honorable Emma Hurst MLC

Emma Hurst is a registered psychologist, a vegan, and a bodybuilder from Sydney, Australia, who has spent more than 15 years advocating for animal rights. Hurst previously served as a media officer for PETA and a campaign officer for Animal Liberation. As a result of her campaigns during this time, two major duck producers were prosecuted by the ACCC, ended cruel wild goat racing events, multiple burger chains, and butchers halted the sale of rabbit meat and freed hundreds of animals from medical research.

Hurst, a member of the Animal Justice Party, was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council in 2019. She has since had many successes on behalf of animals in her parliamentary position.

“When I was asked to run for the Animal Justice Party I asked myself, “where am I best placed to help animals?” I could see great work being done by groups getting people to change their diets and their behaviors, and I saw advocacy groups working with companies to develop animal-friendly policies. But in the political space, we were failing animals. NSW backflipped on a greyhound ban and Federal Parliament was pushing to expand the live animal export trade. I knew politics would be an uphill battle—but it was something I needed to do—and we needed people representing animals in this space.” – Emma Hurst (sentientmedia.org)

Hurst’s first act upon election was to establish and chair a parliamentary inquiry into the use of battery cages for egg-laying hens. The inquiry recommended that egg labels clearly state if the eggs came from caged hens and phase-out battery cages altogether.

Emma’s second inquiry addressed the exhibition of exotic animals in circuses and cetaceans in NSW. As Deputy Chair, Emma seeks to end the captivity of dolphins, whales, and exotic animals in NSW.

She also frequently speaks against Australian ag-gag laws, fighting for transparency in Australia’s animal agriculture industry. Emma believes the public has a right to know how animals are treated in farms and slaughterhouses.

“Right now millions of animals are facing the terror of the slaughterhouse and our climate crisis is edging closer to the point of becoming irreversible. Our governments need to recognize the truth—animal agribusiness is not only unsustainable, it is destroying the planet. But it’s not too late for a solution.” – Emma Hurst (sentientmedia.org)

During the bushfires in 2019-2020, Emma supported struggling animal sanctuaries and animal welfare groups by raising over $30,000 and fighting the government’s proposal to drop one million 1080 baits across state land.

Emma is also an essential voice for ending animal experimentation in Australia. She works very closely with animal advocacy groups to raise awareness of the horrors of animal testing and its continued failure to provide valuable medical insight and available ethical alternatives to animal experimentation.

Emma’s campaigns against ongoing animal experimentation and the government’s bushfire response are continuing. In addition, she is currently working with survivors of domestic violence and experts on the subject for recognition of animals as domestic violence victims.

Are you interested in hearing from Emma herself? Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) will host the online event, The Politics of Animal Rights, with Emma Hurst, on Thursday, February 3, at 7pm ET. During this live broadcast from New South Wales, Emma will discuss her journey from vegan to activist to an elected official. She will also be offering insight and advice for keeping animals at the top of the government’s agenda and ways you can be more involved in animal legislation in your area. Find more information on FARM’s Facebook page and RSVP by clicking HERE.

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