Emma Christine Hurst (born 1981) is an Australian politician, psychologist and vegan bodybuilder. She was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council representing the Animal Justice Party at the state election on 23 March 2019.
Hurst became involved in animal welfare in 2002, and worked as a media officer for PETA and campaign officer for Animal Liberation. She contested the seat of Grayndler for the Animal Justice Party at the 2016 Australian federal election, and became a member of the NSW Legislative Council following the 2019 NSW state election.
Born and raised in Sydney, Hurst became an animal activist during childhood
Hurst graduated from Monash University and is a Registered Psychologist, BA(Psy), PGDip(Psy), M(HealthPsy).
Hurst has run a number of highly successful campaigns that saw two major duck producers successfully prosecuted by the ACCC, the end of various cruel wild goat racing events, multiple companies including major burger chains and butchers cease their sales of rabbit meat, and hundreds of animals released from medical research.
Hurst became a vegan bodybuilder at age 37. Despite being told she was “too old to compete” and “it would be too hard to go into a bodybuilding competition as a vegan”, Hurst took home three gold medals at Australian Natural Bodybuilding bikini competitions. Following her success she continues to advocate for a healthy plant-based lifestyle, competing in numerous half marathons.
In 2019 Hurst became the second member of the Animal Justice Party elected to the NSW Legislative Council after the party secured 1.95 per cent of the vote in the March election.
Soon after her election she established and chaired a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Use of Battery Cages for Hens in the Egg Production Industry. The Inquiry recommended that all food products containing eggs from caged hens should be clearly labelled for the benefit of consumers, and a phase-out of battery cage hen farming in NSW.
On September 26, 2019, Ms Hurst established a second Inquiry into the Exhibition of exotic animals in circuses and exhibition of cetaceans in New South Wales, where she served as Deputy Chair.
Hurst has been a frequent opponent of Australian ag-gag laws, speaking out against the NSW Government’s Right to Farm Bill and increased biosecurity legislation. She has campaigned for increased transparency in the Australian animal agriculture industry and defended the public’s right to know how millions of animals are treated in farms and slaughterhouses.