Angela gives her support to calls for an end to Japan’s Antarctic whaling
As Shadow Animal Welfare Minister, Angela has shown her support for whales by signing the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) whale board and backing calls for a permanent end to Japan’s Antarctic whaling.
Angela recently attended and gave a speech at an IFAW parliamentary event which was held to raise awareness of Japan’s plans to resume so-called ‘scientific whaling’ in the Southern Ocean later this year, and to urge politicians to raise the issue with Japan at the highest diplomatic level.
Despite initially vowing to abide by the decision of the World Court, Japan quickly announced plans for further Antarctic whaling as part of a programme with a different name (NEWREP-A), to begin in the Southern Ocean after a pause of just one year.
“We are very grateful to Angela for showing their support for whales at such a critical time. IFAW opposes all commercial or so-called scientific whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary. This season whales in the Southern Ocean were safe from commercial slaughter for the first time in more than a century, and this should continue.”
In February this year, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) convened a meeting of an independent Expert Panel in Tokyo which concluded that Japan’s proposal did not demonstrate the need for whales to be killed to achieve its research objectives.
IFAW hopes that the IWC’s Scientific Committee, which has also reviewed the plan, will reach a similar conclusion when its report is released later this week.
“I am pleased to support IFAW’s work to protect whales at a time when they face more threats than ever before. I believe these magnificent and intelligent animals should be protected for future generations and urge Japan to abandon its plans for further Antarctic whaling.”
Since the global moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced, Japan has killed more than 14,000 whales in the name of science, the vast majority of these in the Southern Ocean.
About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit http://www.ifaw.org/ href="http://www.ifaw.org/">www.ifaw.org. Follow us on http://www.facebook.com/IFAWHQ href="http://www.facebook.com/IFAWHQ">Facebook and http://www.twitter.com/action4ifaw href="http://www.twitter.com/action4ifaw">Twitter.
Xmas Card winners
On Saturday Angela presented awards to the winners of her annual Christmas card competition. For photos of the event please click here..
Angela adds her support to to protect shopworkers from threats and abuse
Angela Smith MP has joined with members of the retail union Usdaw to campaign for respect for shopworkers as part of the Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff.
Attending a campaign event in the House of Commons, Angela pledged to support a protection of workers bill that would introduce a specific offence of assaulting a worker serving the public, thereby extending existing protections for police officers, immigration officers and Scottish emergency service workers.
“Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse and it is really important we stand together and ask people to respect shopworkers.
“I support Usdaw’s campaign for stiffer sentences and I’ve been very disappointed to see Tory and Liberal MPs, on five occasions in the current Parliament, combine to block this measure when proposed by Labour.
“Making the assault of a worker serving the public an offence in its own right would simplify sentencing. Under existing guidelines, assaulting a worker is an aggravating factor, but there are concerns this is not being applied when decisions are made about prosecutions and sentencing.
“I will continue to campaign with Usdaw for a change in the law to ensure that proper punishments are given out. We must give a clear message that assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable.”
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“We are grateful to Angela for supporting our campaign to keep our members safe at work.
“Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to enforce the law, whether that is preventing under-age purchases of products like knives, tobacco or alcohol, or detaining shoplifters until the police arrive, they can be put in real danger. Parliament has given shopworkers the duty to enforce the law, so Parliament should provide the necessary protection.
“I have been shocked by the leniency of some of the sentences for assault of workers. Over 300 shopworkers are assaulted every day and it is time to say enough is enough. The Government must act to address this issue and act quickly.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 429,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Survey Report 2014, the interim results of shopworkers experiences over the last year, from the first 997 responses, are:
- Victims of verbal abuse: 51%
- Shopworkers threatened: 30%
- Violent assaults: 7%
Respect for Shopworker Week 2014 takes place on 10 – 14 November. It is an annual event where shopworkers talk to the public about the problems of violence threats and abuse, asking customers to ‘keep their cool’. Part of the campaign will be encouraging shopworkers not to accept abuse as just being part of the job and report incidents to their manager.