Executive Director, Humane Society International/United Kingdom
Claire Bass is the Executive Director of Humane Society International/UK. She oversees HSI’s campaigns in the UK, including work to champion the protection of wildlife and to challenge the sale of fur in the UK. She is also part of HSI’s global teams on whales and seals.
Prior to joining HSI, Bass worked for eight years at World Animal Protection as Head of Wildlife Campaigns. She led global campaigns on problems including whaling, dolphin captivity, sealing (in Namibia) and marine debris. She devised the concept and strategy of a global campaign to tackle the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear and its impacts on marine wildlife. This successful multi-stakeholder initiative gained support and financial backing from UN agencies (UNEP, FAO) and several leading seafood retail companies.
Bass has participated in meetings of the International Whaling Commission since 2004, and for several years has been invited to sit on the UK delegation, providing advice to the UK and other pro-conservation governments. Working in collaboration with the UK government, in 2014 she influenced the IWC to adopt a revised and expanded Animal Welfare Action plan which will proactively address a wide range of welfare threats to whales. Bass has authored chapters in several books on marine mammal hunting and ethics, and has acted as an advisor on wildlife expert consultations, including the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific advisory panel which provided critical evidence to support the European Union’s seal product trade ban.
Bass has expertise in planning and running investigations, commenced through her work for two years as an investigator at the Environmental Investigation Agency. She has undertaken research to support campaigns to stop whaling, including an investigation into commercialization of whale products in Greenland which resulted in the IWC rejecting Greenland’s request to kill humpback whales. She was commissioned, along with experts from Chatham House, by the Secretariat to the Montreal Protocol, to conduct an in-depth analysis on illegal trade in Ozone Depleting Substances and provide recommendations to prevent it, several of which were adopted by the Parties.
Claire holds an BSc(Hons) in Geography and Biology from the University of Sussex, and an MSc in Marine Environmental Protection from the University of Wales, Bangor.