Committee of National Officers

LEADER: Vanessa Hudson

Vanessa Hudson is a producer / director in the media industry.  Her work has encompassed documentaries, commercials, entertainment television and music videos. She has been vegetarian for 35 years and vegan for the last 25 years. Vanessa is passionate about achieving greater rights for animals by setting positive examples of animal friendly, plant-based lifestyles. In 2006, Vanessa was a founding member of Vegan Runners UK, a UK athletics club and later became the club’s Press Secretary.

Vanessa joined Animals Count / AWP in 2009, impressed by the party’s success in the EU Elections. Taking over the leadership from Jasmijn De Boo in October 2010, Vanessa aims have been to increase awareness of the party, strengthen relations with similar animal parties around the world and to bolster the party’s position to contest local and national elections.

Vanessa was born in Sheffield, UK, grew up in Nottinghamshire and studied English and Communication Studies at The University of Liverpool. Having lived in Hong Kong and Australia during her early career, Vanessa now divides her time between London and Nottinghamshire.


Jane Smith is a town councillor representing AWP in Alsager, Cheshire. Jane is a psychotherapist by training, a vegan and mother of three boys. She studied at the University of Angers (France) and has postgraduate degrees from Loughborough University and the University of Manchester. Jane runs Compassion in World Farming’s Cheshire Group and her interests include hiking with her two rescue dogs, meditation and spending time in nature.

During her time as a town councillor, Jane has focused on animal welfare including successfully campaigning for Alsager town council to become the first in the UK to agree that native hedging or wildlife tunnels must be stipulated for boundaries in every new planning application. Jane has also worked to successfully secure an official toad crossing (denoting an ancient toad crossing) at Brookhouse Moss, close to Alsager and a ban on goldfish being given as fairground prizes in the town. Jane has campaigned tirelessly against the badger cull in Cheshire and has also lobbied for the resettlement of Syrian refugee families in the area. She is actively involved in securing funding for a neglected Bronze Age burial site to be protected and re-planted with native woodland trees.


Jon has served on Animal Welfare Party’s Committee of National Officers since 2013. He believes strongly in ending all animal cruelty and feels establishing a dedicated voice for animals in the political arena is essential. A trained astrophysicist, Jon is an IT Consultant by profession. Jon has two children and has lived in the constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington for 17 years.


TREASURER: Louise Cobham, QV

Louise Cobham was as a financial administrator for asset management companies for 12 years before moving to a career in veterinary nursing. Louise qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2008 and in 2009 spent two months volunteering at a marine animal rescue organisation in the north of Scotland. Louise became involved with Animals Count / AWP in 2008 and was elected Treasurer in October 2008. She has remained in position since then.

The following members have not been elected but appointed by the leaders:


Andre Menache, BSc(Hons) BVSc MRCVS

Andre Menache Portrait-2009-11-06

Born in Belgium, Andre Menache has been an active campaigner for the past 30 years – mainly in South Africa, Israel and the UK. He has held various posts, including that of president of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (UK) and general manager of the Federation of Animal Protection Societies in Israel. Today he provides scientific support to several grass roots organisations, in addition to his official position as director of Antidote Europe, based in France.

His expertise includes animal experiments and regulatory toxicology. However, his interests also cover other issues. In addition to being co-organiser and speaker at several national and international congresses on animal experimentation, xenotransplantation, informed consent and vaccine damage compensation, he was instrumental in launching a Supreme Court Action that led to a ban on the force feeding of geese in Israel, then the world’s third largest exporter of foie gras (2006).

Andre is listed in Who’s Who in the World (19th edn.), Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare (Millennium edn.) and is a recipient of a 21st century award for achievement from the International Biographical Centre (Cambridge).

Selected publications

  • World Health Organisation, International Journal of Public Health, Round table discussion: animal to human organ transplants (vol 77(1), 1999; 54-62).
  • Proposal to amend the Helsinki Declaration (A. Menache, Elsevier publications, 2000). Adopted by plenary session at 3rd World Congress on Alternatives and Animal use in the Life Sciences and subsequently adopted by World Medical Association 52nd General Assembly at Edinburgh, 2000.
  • Healthy human volunteers and informed consent. Med Law 2000; 19(3): 523-5.