Vegan bodybuilder wins seat in NSW election, ousts pro-farming candidate

A vegan animal rights campaigner has won a seat in the New South Wales upper house, likely ending the career of her pro-farming opponent.

Animal Justice Party candidate Emma Hurst's victory likely means the end of former senator David Leyonhjelm's political career, 7News reports.

Hurst, who ran on an animal rights based platform, is a former media officer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and competes in bodybuilding in her spare time.

"I won't be some politician full of empty promises - I plan to do whatever it takes to make changes for animals," she said.

"Because there are still millions of hens in cages, there are koalas having their homes torn down, and there are animals being shot from the skies."

She's the second member of the Animal Justice Party to make it to parliament, following in the footsteps of Mark Pearson, who was elected to the New South Wales legislative council in 2015.

Her election means the end of the road for Leyonhjelm, who quit federal politics to contest the state election.

Leyonhjelm is a former veterinarian and agribusiness consultant. He published an essay in support of factory farming in 2019 and wrote a regular "Agribuzz" column for Fairfax Rural Media.

His columns have called for less regulation in the agricultural sector and the destruction of PETA.


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