Ashfield local and registered psychologist, Emma Hurst, is the Animal Justice Party’s candidate for the seat of Grayndler.
How did you first develop your passion for animal rights?
When I was six years old my parents rescued two cats from the Cat Protection Society on Enmore Road. Seeing how much personality each cat had and recognising that they had needs and wants made me wonder about other species. We have been taught in society that certain animals have the ability to suffer and need our protection (dogs, cats, horses) while others are less able to suffer, or have less intelligence (cows, pigs, chickens). A pig has the same intelligence as a six year old child, so the way society has grouped these animals makes no sense. I’m not unique in recognising this as a child though. Having worked with children, I can see that many children see all animals as intelligent and capable of pain.
Is this passion reflected in your diet?
I went vegetarian when I realised I couldn’t kill and eat my cat. That was almost 20 years ago. Once I heard about the cruelty in the egg and dairy industry I went vegan overnight. Reading about the male bobby calves being taken away and slaughtered at just 1 day old in the dairy industry and the male chicks macerated at birth in the egg industry was enough to turn me away. I’ve been living a vegan lifestyle for 16 years now.
What do you like cooking at home and who are your favourite dinner guests?
I am really lucky to have a partner that loves to cook (and who used to own a few restaurants). Now that it is winter I am loving my soups- my favourite being potato and leek soup with either some brown rice, quinoa, or freshly made sourdough bread. My partner also makes some traditional Greek soups with tomato and lentils. These are great to share with family and friends. My cat Jess always wants to lick the bowl – considering he is a carnivore, we must be making some pretty delicious plant-based soups!
What is the policy you are most passionate about backing in the AJP campaign?
The policy to end live animal export. The AJP opposes the commercial export, whether by sea or air, of live animals; this includes but isn’t limited to sheep, cattle, horses, donkeys, camels and goats. The ALP have just recently agreed to work with the AJP to increase plant-based food production in Australia. Investment in plant-based foods is about jobs and growth in a non-lethal industry. Our belief is that in the future, investment in the live animal trade industry will cease in favour of investment in a diverse, organic, plant-based agriculture industry where the returns, the jobs and other benefits for us all will be greater.
Is there any particular treat that you try to avoid but find really tempting?
Gelato Blue vegan ice cream in Newtown! Even though it is winter I struggle to walk past that place without getting a scoop of cookies and cream. I have a massive sweet tooth, and if it’s not ice cream, I’m usually trying to stop myself munching on some liquorice.
Potato and Leek Soup
1 Tsp coconut oil
2 sticks celery
4 cups vegetable stock
Add coconut oil to base of a large saucepan. Cut and heat onion, celery and leeks. Stir until the pieces become soft. Skin potatoes and cut into four pieces. Add potatoes to the pot with the vegetable stock. Cook until potato is soft all the way through. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Add salt or pepper to taste.
For more information about Emma’s campaign go to: www.animaljusticeparty.org