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Vegan Labour Shadow Environment Minister: Rename Fisherman ‘Fishers’ For Gender Equality

Labour’s vegan shadow environment secretary Kerry McCarthy has suggested that fishermen ought to be referred to as ‘fishers’, to render the description gender neutral.

She floated the suggestion on Twitter, musing “Shouldn’t say ‘fishermen’, but ‘fishers’ sounds wrong as gender neutral alternative?” The tweet received a mixed response.

Fellow Twitter-user and former Tory MP Louise Mensch enquired whether, as a vegan, McCarthy should be encouraging “fisherfolk” at all:

Other twitter users have helpfully come up with alternative gender neutral titles, some of which McCarthy pondered:

Earlier this year Ms McCarthy compared eating meat to smoking cigarettes, telling Viva! Life magazine: “I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it.”

Her comments were met with ridicule; Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance said the idea was “cranky”, while on Twitter she was labelled an “idiot” and a “moron”.

McCarthy admitted that she was keen to avoid a similar pasting by making a sexist faux-pas on behalf of the fishing industry, commenting “I just know what Twitter is like! If I say fishermen someone will pull me up on it! If I query it, even more people will!”

Others questioned whether it was really a problem at all though, leading to McCarthy herself admitting it might not be.

Charles Walker, a senior Tory MP, told the Telegraph: “I am sure her statement on this matter will be met with some agricultural comments from fishermen and women.

“How such utterances advance of the English commercial fishing fleet, I don’t know. With every one of its meaningless utterances Labour is losing its mandate to be taken seriously across the country and countryside.”

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