CALLING for the abolition of jumps racing in the sport’s unofficial home is a tough ask but Jen Gamble says she’s prepared to stand up for what she believes.
The Warrnambool nurse is running for the Animal Justice Party for the region’s upper house and lists a jumps racing ban as a high priority.
Originally from Castlemaine, Ms Gamble has lived in Warrnambool for the past two years after stints in Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide.
The 39-year-old has been a member of the Animal Justice Party for 18 months and the 2014 state election is the first time she has stood as a political candidate.
“I know jumps racing is popular in Warrnambool but there’s a surprising number of people out there that support a ban,” Ms Gamble said.
“It’s a very cruel sport. Racing is very popular in Warrnambool but the races would be able to survive without jumps. People go for the day out, to get dressed up and have a good time.
Ms Gamble spent a year studying marine biology at Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus in 1995 and her fond recollections of the region drew her back to the south-west two years ago.
She holds degrees in biochemistry and nursing and works in the operating theatre at Warrnambool Base Hospital.
“I thought coming to Warrnambool and saying ‘Hi, I’m Jen, I’m a vegan and an animal rights activist’ would be hard but when you talk about the issues, people understand,” she said.
Apart from jumps racing, Ms Gamble said the Animal Justice Party was also campaigning for the abolition of “puppy farms” and a statewide ban on duck hunting.
“The major parties are finally waking up to the realities of puppy farming,” she said. “I don’t think people realise the appalling conditions that the animals have to live in.”
Regarding potential reform of south-west agriculture, Ms Gamble said her party wanted to phase out bobby calves in dairy farming, pushing dairy farmers to adopt IVF treatment for their cattle instead.
“There’s a lot of waste when it comes to bobby calves — they don’t get much of a life and there are so many that are discarded for no real reason,” she said.