Gold-medal winning vegan bodybuilder and psychologist Emma Hurst has revealed plans to retire her bikini suit as she sets her sights on winning a seat in Australia's NSW Parliament representing the Animal Justice Party.
The 37-year-old athlete, who has followed a plant-based diet for 19 years, wants to change Australia's political climate and fix the country's history of animal cruelty.
Bodybuilder turned MP hopeful
After being told she couldn't compete on a bodybuilding stage because being vegan would be too disadvantageous, Hurst set out to prove her opponents wrong- and did so by taking out gold in three back-to-back competitions this year.
"I wanted to make a point that we can choose to live compassionately and still be competitive on stage," Hurst told Plant Based News.
"But I also proved to myself that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Now I am focused on that seat in Parliament and I'm going to give it my all - for the animals."
Australia's poor record on animal welfare
Despite having the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, the Australian Government has a poor history when it comes to animal protection.
NSW and several other Australian states currently have ag-gag laws in place to stop the exposure of animal cruelty and despite banning greyhound racing, and halting live export ships, both state and federal Governments have continually backflipped on any progressive laws, allowing both cruel industries to continue.
Hurst says it is time for all that to change.
Time for change
The Animal Justice Party has one elected Member of Parliament, and there is a real opportunity at this election to get Hurst, who is standing as the number #1 candidate on the Upper House ticket, elected as well.
"Australians are fed-up with politicians failing to protect animals," she said. "They are taking to the streets and demanding change. I think there is every chance we will get this seat. We may then hold the balance of power in Parliament, and then we will see huge changes in the ways animals are legally treated in Australia.
"I am guided by one principle in my life: Where am I best placed to help animals? Right now, I believe this is where I can create the most change."