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Bid to bring animal welfare issues to the EU Parliament

By Retford Times  |  Posted: November 16, 2013

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A former Tuxford School pupil wants to vie for votes in a bid to grab the London seat in the 2014 EU Parliament elections.

Vanessa Hudson, 40, is asking Londoners to dig deep so she can fight it out with the political elite in European elections next year.

The Animal Welfare Party (AWP) leader, who finds time to fight for her cause while being a busy television producer and director, had her outlook profoundly changed during a talk at Tuxford School.

"A man came to speak to us for our GCSE course about the impact of battery farm chickens and it really struck a chord," recalled Vanessa, who splits her time between East Markham and London.

"It took me until about 24 to fully adopt the vegan lifestyle as I struggled with it at first."

Her route to becoming a party leader was somewhat unconventional.

"I was filming a documentary about the party and, to cut a long story short, became its leader by the end of the year," she said.

Vanessa, 40, who worked for MTV for ten years, never finished filming the piece and got involved with the AWP as a member before emerging triumphant after a leadership contest.

AWP campaigns for better welfare for animals and the promotion of plant-based diets.

It is one of five European animal protection parties contesting the May 2014 EU Parliament elections with the aim of returning dedicated representatives for animals to the EU Parliament for the first time in history.

The party estimates it needs around 140,000 votes from Londoners in order to win a seat – around one third of vegetarian members of the capital's electorate.

The past decade has seen an increase in the number of people adopting vegan and plant-based diets. Well known advocates now include Bill Clinton, Pamela Anderson, Moby, Russell Brand, Heather Mills, James Cameron, Ellen DeGeneres, Woody Harrelson, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway.

However, despite attempts, no animal protection party has yet succeeded in returning a representative for animals to the EU Parliament.

"It's incredibly exciting to be part of it. Even if just one of our parties succeeds, we will make history for animals," said Ms Hudson.

"We think this is as significant as any moment in the history of women's rights or human rights.

"We believe that only by having elected representatives in the EU Parliament can the interests of animals begin to be properly protected."

"I don't want a battle with farmers," said Vanessa.

"European funds could be used in a fairer way and we need to think about how we're going to feed the world's population – set to reach 9.1 billion by 2050.

"Meat and dairy diets are unsustainable in the long term."

■ Redirection of subsidies from livestock and fisheries farming to plant-based agriculture

■ Phasing out of the practice of animal experimentation with binding targets for reduction and funding and support for alternatives

■ Phasing out of farming practices with 'poor welfare consequences' for animals.

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