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Struan Stevenson is a Scottish politician. He is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland and Vice Chair of the Committee on Fisheries, in addition to which, he is member of the Executive of the Scottish Conservative party.
Stevenson served his early political career as a local councillor for 22 years, sitting on South Ayrshire Council and its predecessor body the Kyle and Carrick District Council. He stood for election to Parliament at the 1987 election, the 1992 election and 1997 election. He was then elected to the European Parliament in 1999, and retained his seat in 2004.
As an MEP, he led an international campaign to raise awareness and secure aid for the victims of radiation in the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan, where the Soviet Union government tested 607 nuclear devices from 1949 to 1990, leaving an appalling legacy of pollution, deprivation, illness and death. He was awarded with an honorary doctorate in Science from the Semey State Medical Academy, State Medical Academy in Semipalatinsk in recognition of his efforts and on his third visit to Kazakhstan in 2003, he was made an honorary citizen of Semipalatinsk. In September 2004 he won a $50,000 prize in an international essay competition sponsored by the US-based John Templeton Foundation for an essay entitled "Crying Forever" describing the suffering of the people of Semipalatinsk. Struan donated the entire $50,000 to Mercy Corps Scotland to assist with their work in Semipalatinsk. He toured an exhibition of photographs taken in Semipalatinsk by his friend the actress and photographer Kimberley Joseph from the Scottish Parliament, to the European Parliament, the UK Department for International Development, the United Nations headquarters in New York and finally, to Almaty, Astana and Semipalatinsk itself in Kazakhstan. In 2006 he published a book also entitled Crying Forever, detailing his experiences in Kazakhstan. The book was launched at the UN Headquarters in New York and all proceeds from its sale were presented by Struan to the Children's Hospital in Semipalatinsk, totalling over $20,000. In January 2007 Struan was decorated by the President of Kazakhstan with the "Shapagat" ("Mercy") award for his humanitarian work in Semipalatinsk.
Struan also led a successful campaign for eight years in the European Parliament to impose an EU-wide ban on the import, export and trade in cat and dog fur. It was estimated that up to two million cats and dogs were being slaughtered each year in China alone, simply to meet demand for fur products in Europe. Working with Humane Society International, Struan’s generated more than a million emails and signatures on petitions, finally culminating in a draft regulation being prepared by the European Commission and voted through the European Parliament. The regulation was to be enacted into European Union law across all 27 Member States in 2008.