Animal protection charity announces new executive director, as current HSI/UK head Claire Bass steps into a newly created senior position

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


HSI

LONDON—Animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK has today announced that it has appointed Nick Jones as its new executive director. The move will help HSI to develop and deliver even greater change for animals, both in the UK and around the world.

Jones has a wealth of expertise in charity management and strategic growth, having previously held several senior positions in UK nonprofits including Save the Children and, most recently, as managing director of fundraising, communications and policy at Action for Children. He is also an independent member of the Standards Committee of the Fundraising Regulator of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Too many animals are subjected to cruelty and abuse and I’m inspired by HSI’s work to save lives and improve laws to protect animals,” said Jones. “I am very proud to be joining the HSI team and excited to be part of its mission to end animal suffering in the UK and across the world.”

Claire Bass, who has been executive director of Humane Society International/UK since she joined the organisation in 2014, is stepping into the newly created role of senior director of campaigns and public affairs. Throughout her tenure as executive director, Bass led the organisation to many important victories for animals. In her new position, Bass will continue to increase HSI/UK’s impact, securing more critical campaign successes and furthering legislative animal protection progress.

ENDS

Media contact: Sally Ivens, senior specialist in media and communications for HSI/UK: sivens@hsi.org; (+44) 7590 559299

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Call to support the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill at its second reading on 25th November

Dr. Khan and HSI/UK team up for new short documentary on why a UK hunting trophy import ban is crucial, ahead of key political debate

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


HSI

LONDON—Animal advocate and much-loved TV regular Dr. Amir Khan has joined with animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK to front a short film exposing the cruelty of the trophy hunting industry. In the film, Khan explains why the UK’s proposed ban on hunting trophy imports—due to be debated by MPs in Parliament next Friday, 25 November—is a vital step towards protecting threatened and endangered species. Alongside Dr. Khan, some of Africa’s most prominent wildlife advocates also speak out in HSI/UK’s film, namely Josphat Ngonyo, executive director of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, and Lenin Tinashe Chisaira, founder of Advocates4Earth, a Zimbabwe-based environmental organisation.

Around the world, tens of thousands of animals every year are killed by hunters who pay thousands of dollars purely to kill for their own pleasure, often taking photos alongside the dead bodies of the animals they’ve shot and then cutting off their body parts to bring home as souvenirs. In recent years, UK hunters have imported trophies from some of the world’s rarest species, including polar bears, rhinos, African elephants and leopards. A 2021 YouGov poll showed that the overwhelming majority— 82% —of the British public supports a ban on the import of hunting trophies, and the issue is set to be debated in the House of Commons on 25 November during the Second Reading of Henry Smith MP’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill.

Arthur Thomas, public affairs manager at Humane Society International/UK, said: “Dr. Khan’s film with HSI/UK debunks the trophy hunting industry’s absurd claim that it means to protect the very animals it delights in killing, and shines a light on the corruption, greed and self-interest that really drive this cruel and archaic practice. Rather than aiding conservation, trophy hunting threatens endangered species; rather than alleviating poverty, it reinforces colonial power imbalances; and rather than protecting habitats, it cherry picks the most valuable species and leaves areas abandoned when they are no longer profitable. With Parliament about to debate this vital Bill, we hope that Dr. Khan’s film will help MPs see through the trophy hunting industry’s spin, and ensure that people who kill wild animals for kicks can no longer bring their grotesque souvenirs back to Britain.”

Since trophy hunting rose to prominence in the colonial era, there have been catastrophic declines in populations of some of the world’s most iconic species, including elephants, lions, rhinos and giraffes. Many of these species are under increasing pressure from human-induced mortalities, including from loss of habitat, climate breakdown, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.

Dr. Amir Khan said: “Like the majority of the British public, I find the concept of trophy hunting—the killing of animals for fun, especially species which are rare or endangered—disgusting. Seeing images of hunters posing with an animal they have just killed makes my blood boil. We cannot continue to support an industry that profits from the death of rare animals and exploits the natural world for short-term gain. That’s why HSI/UK and I are calling on the UK Government to ban the import of hunting trophies and end its involvement in this outdated practice.”

Countless scientific studies over the years have evidenced that trophy hunting damages conservation efforts and fails to provide meaningful support to local communities living alongside the targeted animals, debunking claims often made by the industry in attempts to greenwash its unfavourable image.

Africa Network for Animal Welfare’s executive director, Josphat Ngonyo, is featured in the video, stating: “I personally come from a community that has lived in a conservation area. Communities have come out very strongly everywhere to say no, [trophy hunting] doesn’t help.”

Speaking about HSI/UK’s campaign to ban hunting trophies from being imported into the UK, Advocates4Earth founder Lenin Tinashe Chisaira is seen in the video saying: “As an environmentalist based in the Global South, I really urge the government not to support trophy hunting.”

Humane Society International/UK is sharing the video with MPs, and urging people to contact their MP to ask them to attend the debate on 25th and speak in strong support of the ban.

Watch the video.

ENDS

Media contact: Sally Ivens, senior specialist in media and communications for HSI/UK: sivens@hsi.org; (+44) 7590 559299

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


dog in leaves
LSOphoto/istock

Fireworks can be fun for some, but terrifying and dangerous for others. Here is our advice for keeping companion animals and wildlife calm and safe during Bonfire Night and other festivities often celebrated with firework displays, such as Diwali and New Year’s Eve.

Fireworks might bring some colour to dark winter nights, but they can pose a real danger to animals. Both domestic and wild animals can find the thunderous sounds and flashing lights overwhelming and terrifying.

Pets may be so scared of fireworks that they shake in fear or become extremely agitated. Some get so frightened by the noise that they run away from otherwise familiar environments, and can even get injured or lost. Others become so stressed that they sadly suffer devastating or even fatal health effects.

And it’s not only dogs and cats who we need to think about—wildlife is affected, too. The sudden bright flashes and sounds can disturb wild animals and cause them to run into roads, resulting in traffic accidents. Birds can get disorientated by the loud explosions, with research showing that fireworks can cause flocks of birds to take off for prolonged periods of time, expending crucial energy, and even fly so far out to sea that they are too exhausted to make the return flight. Additionally the debris from fireworks, containing toxic materials, can be mistakenly consumed by wildlife or even fed to their young.

Here are our top tips to keep animals safe when there are fireworks, from Bonfire Night to beyond:

Fireworks advice for dogs and cats

  • Walk dogs before dark, when it’s much less likely fireworks will be set off. It’s a good idea to keep them on-lead around dates such as Bonfire Night just in case.
  • Keep pets safely indoors with you, making sure the windows and doors of your house are securely shut. Block any exits that animals could escape through, such as cat flaps. At the same time, ensure that your cat or dog has access to safe hiding space in your home if they want to, such as under a table.
  • As well as closing windows, draw your curtains or blinds to reduce the lights and noise coming in from outside.
  • Background noise can help to mask the sound of fireworks. Keep the TV on or try some calm music.
  • Just like at all other times, dogs and cats should be wearing a collar and identification tag—even when they’re safely indoors. Some pets can become so scared during firework displays that they may take desperate measures to escape the noise, running outside when doors are briefly opened or even breaking through windows. You should also make sure your pet is microchipped and that the contact information on the chip is up to date.
  • If needed, speak to your vet about medications that might help to reduce your pets’ anxiety. Calming jackets for cats and dogs, which provide a gentle pressure to alleviate stress, are also available.

Fireworks advice for small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs

  • Bring any outdoor hutches inside for nights when fireworks are happening in your areas, and keep them in a quiet room with the windows and curtains shut.
  • Provide extra bedding for pets to burrow in, to help them feel safe and secure.

Keeping wildlife and other animals safe on Bonfire Night

  • Care should be taken not to let off fireworks near farmed animals or horses, as this may cause them to panic.
  • If you have horses, check if there’s going to be any firework displays in your area and get in contact with the organisers to ask if they can set off the fireworks well away from where horses are kept, or to consider using low noise fireworks. Stay with your horse if you think fireworks are going to be let off nearby, and talk to your vet for advice in advance.
  • Carefully check bonfires for wild animals such as hedgehogs before lighting them.

Take action to reduce the bangs

We agree with the RSPCA that tighter regulations are needed to restrict firework use, in order to reduce the number of bangs and unpredictability of when they occur. The Scottish government has already brought in extra controls and we urge other UK governments to follow their lead by:

  • Introducing a licensing scheme for the purchase of fireworks, which would reduce sales and ensure that people buying and using fireworks are appropriately trained, preventing injuries to both people and animals.
  • Shortening the period in which fireworks can be legally sold around Bonfire night. At present they can be sold from mid-October to mid-November, meaning weeks of unpredictably timed private displays. We’d like to see the sale window shortened to only one week before Bonfire night, similar to the shorter sale windows for New Year’s Eve and Diwali.
  • The current legal noise limit for fireworks sold to the public is 120 decibels, a similar level to a plane taking off! We’d like to see this reduced to 90 dB.

You can show your support for tighter controls on fireworks by:

  • Contacting your MP to let them know you are concerned about the animal welfare impacts of overly liberal firework laws, and signing government e-petitions to help get the issue debated in Parliament.
  • Asking your local officials to use low noise fireworks for public displays, or even to try out a different type of celebration. Light displays using drones or lasers are a more eco-friendly alternative to fireworks.

Frasers Group—including House of Fraser, FLANNELS and Sports Direct—announces commitment to stop purchasing fur

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Jillian Cooper/iStock.com 

LONDON­—Frasers Group, owner of House of Fraser department stores, as well as luxury retail chain Flannels and retail brands including Sports Direct, has announced it has immediately informed its suppliers it will stop purchasing fur products, a move that will take effect on shop shelves this coming season (Autumn/Winter 2023). The commitment was announced by Frasers Group Chief Executive Michael Murray at the company’s annual general meeting on 19 October, and follows discussions with animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK.

Announcing what it describes as its “long-term commitment” away from fur, the Group will work with HSI/UK to phase out as soon as possible its existing inventory of garments containing fur. It also pledged further updates on progress towards a date from which consumers can be assured Frasers Group’s stores will be free of fur. Frasers Group has over 1,500 stores globally, including fashion retailers such as FLANNELS, House of Fraser, Sports Direct, Cruise and 18 Montrose.

Humane Society International/UK, which worked with Frasers Group bosses to announce the policy, attended the meeting to hear the announcement to shareholders. Claire Bass, HSI/UK’s executive director, said: “We are pleased to have been able to work alongside Frasers Group and applaud it for taking the important decision to stop purchasing fur. By making this commitment to a fur-free future, Frasers Group are showing that it is a company in tune with the vast majority of the British public who believe that animals should not suffer in the name of fashion. Frasers Group’s decision is another critical milestone in the fur-free revolution underway in the UK, and brings us another big step closer to a Fur Free Britain. We look forward to continuing to work with the company to set an end date for its inventory phase out period, to enable consumers to be confident of when Frasers Group will be fully fur-free.” 

Frasers Group is the latest in a long line of luxury retailers and international designers that have turned their backs on fur in recent years, including Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, Canada Goose, Burberry, Chanel, Gucci and Prada. The announcement signifies the accelerating decline of the fur trade and adds further pressure to the few remaining fashion brands that continue to sell fur to follow suit.

Answering a question put by Bass at the meeting, Murray commented: “Frasers Group is committed to a future without fur. The Group’s intention is to stop purchasing fur products from its partners starting with orders for the coming season. The business will be issuing letters to all of its suppliers requesting no fur products are supplied to the Group.”

Group Board Chair David Daly thanked HSI/UK at the meeting for its support in helping the company reach this decision.

Humane Society International/UK works to end the fur trade globally and leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur imports and sales ban. National opinion polling carried out in April 2022 revealed that 77% of Britons think the government should ban the import of products, such as fur, where production methods are banned in the UK. More than one million signatures have so far been amassed for the #FurFreeBritain petition calling on the UK to ban the sale of cruel animal fur.

Fur facts:

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide. The vast majority (around 95%) spend their entire lives confined in small, barren cages unable to act out their most basic behaviours such as running, digging and, in the case of mink, swimming.
  • Fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2003, however almost £1 billion of fur has been imported into the country since then, from countries including China, Finland and Poland.
  • The UK was the first country in the world to ban fur farming and 18 other European countries have now followed suit, including Ireland, France, Italy and most recently in September 2022, Latvia.

Reference in this article to any specific commercial product or service, or the use of any brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public only, and does not constitute or imply endorsement by HSI/UK or any of its affiliates of the product or service, or its producer or provider, and should not be construed or relied upon, under any circumstances, by implication or otherwise, as investment advice.  Links and access by hypertext to other websites is provided as a convenience only and does not indicate or imply any endorsement with respect to any of the content on such website nor any of the views expressed thereon.

ENDS

Media contact: Sally Ivens: sivens@hsi.org

Moves to lift global ban on commercial whaling a major concern, says Humane Society International

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


HSI Humpback Whale, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

LONDON—Ahead of the upcoming 68th meeting of the International Whaling Commission which begins on 13th October in Slovenia, animal protection and conservation non-profit Humane Society International warns that the very future of the IWC and the global moratorium on commercial whaling could be in jeopardy.

The global economic crisis, the pandemic and the exit of Japan―a whaling nation and formerly a major IWC funder―have created a serious budgetary emergency at the IWC. Efforts to reduce costs, including selling the IWC Secretariat headquarters in Cambridge, have stalled. The financial survival of the IWC as the only international body that focuses on cetacean conservation hangs in the balance at a time when almost half of the world’s known species, subspecies and subpopulations of cetaceans, are listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. The negotiations to balance the budget will be critical for the future of whales.

Rebecca Regnery, senior wildlife director at Humane Society International, said: “Whales face myriad threats from human activities including whale hunting; fisheries bycatch; chemical, plastic and noise pollution; ship strikes; habitat loss and the urgent climate crisis. If the IWC were to collapse now, everything it has done to establish and maintain the global whaling moratorium, the Southern Ocean sanctuary and multiple other scientific and conservation work would also collapse. The framework the IWC has provided for global cetacean conservation and management would disappear, leaving these ocean giants even more vulnerable in increasingly challenging and hostile seas.”

The threat to the IWC’s vital work, and even the global moratorium on commercial whaling, are at further risk because the IWC is considering allowing voting rights for nations even if they have failed to pay their membership fees, a move that would largely benefit pro-whaling countries. While the proposal aims to assist countries hit hard by the pandemic, many of which rely on tourism, it could tip the balance on some key pro-whaling draft resolutions including one by Antigua and Barbuda to lift the commercial whaling ban.

Regnery says: “The global moratorium on commercial whaling, which has spared the lives of hundreds of thousands of cetaceans and been instrumental in pulling many species back from the brink of extinction, is in very real danger. Scrapping the moratorium is what Japan has been pushing for since it was first adopted in 1982. Ironically, although Japan has withdrawn from the IWC, its pro-whaling influence is as menacing as ever via country allies beholden to Japan that continue to push its dangerous agenda. This year, if many more pro-whaling nations are allowed to vote, it could be the beginning of the end for global whale protection. So we are urging all whale-friendly countries to assemble at the IWC ready to fight once again to save the whales.”

Other top IWC priorities for Humane Society International include:

  • A marine plastic pollution draft resolution by the European Union that, if adopted, will provide critical IWC support for international negotiations on a global plastics treaty to tackle the serious threats to cetaceans including entanglement and ingestion, both of which can also lead to strandings and death.
  • A proposal to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The IWC has considered this proposal many times at past meetings, but it has consistently been blocked by pro-whaling nations. However, due to climate change and the biodiversity crisis, establishment of this sanctuary is increasingly important for the continued survival of marine mammals and our oceans.
  • A food security proposal by Gambia, Guinea, Cambodia, Antigua and Barbuda, countries very closely aligned with Japan. None of these countries provide any evidence that they rely on whale meat for subsistence or national food security. Conversely, whales kept alive in the ocean may provide financial and therefore food security and poverty alleviation to communities reliant on whale watching income, as well as contributing to healthy fish stocks as marine ecosystem managers.
  • A newly developed Cetacean Welfare Assessment Tool which will be presented at the meeting. We foresee this tool being extremely useful for our work and others for assessing welfare threats and solutions.
  • The fate of Greenland hunts, especially of killer whales which are in need of a full population assessment, harbour porpoises which may be overhunted especially when combined with the threat of bycatch, and narwhals which are being excessively hunted causing changes to life history and population dynamics. The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission has recommended a zero-hunting quota stating that narwhals in Greenland are at “high risk of extirpation of the stocks if harvest at any level continues.” The 2022 hunting quota for narwhals in Greenland is 50. Atlantic white-sided dolphins are also hunted in high numbers in Greenland, Norway, Newfoundland, Canada and the Faroe Islands (where direct take is especially high and has occurred without a full assessment).

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media for HSI/UK: whiggins@hsi.org

Notes

Of the 90 species, 12 subspecies and 28 subpopulations of cetaceans that have been identified and assessed to date, 22 are listed as Critically Endangered, 22 as Endangered and 16 as Vulnerable.

Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Paul O’Grady support call for commitment to vital animal welfare improvements

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Lion
Byrdyak/istock

London—In the month of the bicentenary of the UK’s first ever animal protection law—Martin’s Act of 22nd July 1822—some of the UK’s leading animal charities are joined by Larry the Downing Street cat (@Number10Cat) and celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Dame Joanna Lumley and Paul O’Grady to urge Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to pass and strengthen more laws to protect animals from suffering if they become the country’s next Prime Minister.  

In an open letter to the Conservative leadership contenders, the CEOs of the RSPCA, Humane Society International/UK, FOUR PAWS UK and others, ask Truss and Sunak for their public commitment to deliver on the promises the Government made in its 2021 Action Plan for Animal Welfare, only four of which have so far been delivered. Thousands of members of the public have also emailed the leadership candidates over the last few days, calling on them to support animal welfare issues. 

Sunak and Truss have been asked to go public on three specific commitments: 

  • Pass the Kept Animals Bill, delivering on manifesto commitments to end live animal exports for fattening and slaughter; introduce new laws to tackle low welfare puppy imports and pet abduction; and restrict the keeping of primates as pets, amongst other measures—the Kept Animals Bill has not been given Parliamentary time since November last year.
  • Progress legislation to protect the welfare of animals abroad suffering for the UK market, including bans on imports of hunting trophies, fur and foie gras, and the advertising of low welfare tourism activities overseas. These bans were derailed by dissenters in Boris Johnson’s cabinet in recent months. 
  • Strengthen existing legislation to: introduce compulsory cat microchipping; phase out use of cages in farming; prevent inhumane trapping and killing of wildlife (e.g. banning snares and expediting an end to the badger cull); and strengthen and extend the current laws on hunting with dogs. 

The letter welcomes the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto statement that ‘high standards of animal welfare are one of the hallmarks of a civilised society’ and asks: “Animals need a Prime Minister whose government will give them the legal protections they need and deserve, as sentient beings. Will you pledge such protections as part of your leadership campaign?”

A spokesperson for the group of animal protection NGOs said: “In the year where the sentience of animals has finally been enshrined in law, we must not lose this dedication to better animal welfare in the UK. Animals matter to voters of all political persuasions, including the 72% of Conservative voters who want more and stronger laws to protect animals. Ministers are constantly claiming that the UK is a world leader on animal welfare, so we’re calling on Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to set out exactly what they’ll deliver to justify that title. Showing compassion and ambition to protect vulnerable animals could tell us a lot about the sort of leader they might be.”

National polling carried out in April 2022 showed that British voters want to see the government follow through on its promise to protect animals, with 72% of respondents—and 71% of those who voted Conservative in the last general election—stating they would like the government to pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty.* 

Read the open letter and view the full list of signatories.

ENDS

Notes: 

*Polling was run on the Focaldata platform. Data was collected from a nationally representative sample of 10,018 adults between 11th and 20th April 2022. 

Media contact: Sally Ivens: sivens@hsi.org  

Animal protection & conservation NGOs unveil plaque in Brighton’s Hilton Metropole Hotel where historic whaling ban was agreed in 1982

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Dwarf minke whale
Nature Picture Library/Alamy

United Kingdom—The 40th anniversary of the global ban on commercial whaling has been marked today, with a plaque unveiled to hail one of the most significant conservation victories of all time.

Almost three million whales were killed for their oil and meat in the 20th century, bringing many species and populations to the brink of extinction. In July 1982, member countries of the IWC held an historic meeting at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton and agreed a global ban on commercial whaling, which remains in place today.

A recent £300,000 funding award to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) from the UK Government is supporting its vital whale conservation and welfare work around the world, addressing significant threats such as bycatch and climate change. This funding is also supporting the participation of developing countries in IWC meetings, ensuring that decisions are representative of all members. This financial support will help to enable the IWC to continue with its excellent work providing an international framework for the conservation and management of cetaceans.  

To commemorate the anniversary a permanent memorial plaque was unveiled at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, at a reception attended by past and present members of the IWC, dignitaries and local Members of Parliament. Caroline Lucas MP opened speeches, pledging her ongoing commitment to vital conservation efforts. The event was co-hosted by leading animal protection charities working on the IWC, including the UK representatives of the Animal Welfare Institute, Born Free Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, Greenpeace, Humane Society International/UK, IFAW, OceanCare, ORCA, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

International Environment Minister Zac Goldsmith said: “The moratorium on commercial whaling led the way four decades ago and remains one of the clearest demonstrations that conservation action works, moving from a bleak outlook where nearly 3 million whales were killed in the 20th century, to one where whale populations are coming back from the brink of extinction. The work of the IWC has been instrumental, bringing together global partners to deliver the science, conservation and management to support these majestic marine mammals, and the UK is proud to lend our full support to this work, including to uphold this vital moratorium.”

Without doubt the ban on commercial whaling has spared the lives of hundreds of thousands of whales and been instrumental in pulling many species and populations back from the brink of extinction — although some have never recovered.

Beyond whaling, whales still face many threats caused by human activities including fisheries bycatch; chemical, plastic and noise pollution; ship strikes; habitat loss and the urgent climate crisis. Of the 90 species, 12 subspecies and 28 subpopulations of cetaceans that have been identified and assessed to date, 22 are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’, 22 as ‘Endangered’ and 16 as ‘Vulnerable’.

Originally established in 1946 to conserve whales in order to manage whaling, the IWC has since evolved to address myriad anthropogenic threats, such as fisheries bycatch, that are estimated to kill hundreds of thousands of cetaceans a year. The IWC is now central to global cetacean conservation and welfare efforts, including overseeing regional efforts to prevent entanglement and vessel strikes, and advancing the scientific understanding of cetacean sentience and suffering. The UK’s funding therefore comes as a huge boost to global efforts to protect these ocean giants for generations to come.

Sue Fisher, acting marine policy director for the Animal Welfare Institute, observed: “Forty years ago, members of the public protesting outside this hotel and around the world convinced their governments to ‘save the whales’. Today they face new perils from our degraded oceans. We commend the United Kingdom for its commitment to ensuring that the IWC can do its vital work to save the whales again.”

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Whales face an uncertain future in our degraded oceans, but there can be no doubt that the global ban on commercial whaling has saved many species from the brink of extinction. The ban’s 40-year anniversary is therefore a timely reminder of what can be achieved and should serve to strengthen our resolve to strive for even greater action against threats such as entanglements and pollution. The UK government’s funding for and renewed commitment to the vital work of the International Whaling Commission is a very welcome boost that will support international efforts for years to come to ensure the recovery of cetacean populations and the welfare of these astonishing ocean giants.”

Lucy Babey, ORCA’s head of science & conservation, and marine mammal chair at Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “The IWC moratorium on commercial whaling was one of the biggest single conservation measures ever introduced, and its legacy resonates even today. To celebrate this milestone is a privilege that I know everyone involved feels lucky to be a part of, and we are delighted that the UK Government has decided to reaffirm its commitment to the IWC to ensure the legacy of this momentous decision is safeguarded for years to come. Future generations can look back on this watershed moment and see a time when people who cared about the ocean came together and did something special, and in that spirit we are proud to have been a part of marking this occasion.”

Sharon Livermore, IFAW marine conservation director, commented: “To this day, the global commercial whaling ban remains one of the most iconic and important conservation achievements of all time. But there is still much work to do to protect whales and dolphins from the many other threats they face; the International Whaling Commission is central to that work, so this new UK government funding is very timely.”

Mark Simmonds OBE, director of science for OceanCare, said: “Historically, the whales had been viewed as huge swimming barrels of oil, blubber and meat, ripe for the plundering. By 1982, when the moratorium was agreed, they were much better known, the grace and grandeur of these social mammals had been revealed by ground-breaking underwater cinematography, and we were increasingly concerned about the cruelty of whaling.  And now, forty years on, we know so much more! New species and populations have been discovered and we also recognize cultural units with unique behaviours, and we are also busy exploring the contributions that the whales make to keeping our essential marine ecosystems healthy. Now is the time to make the moratorium complete and for all commercial whaling to end.”

Vanessa Tossenberger, Whale and Dolphin Conservation policy director, commented: “Working towards the recovery of whale populations is part of a nature-based solution to the climate and biodiversity crises. We appreciate that the IWC is leading efforts to better understand whales and their impact on ecosystem functioning. For this work to be successful, the IWC must urgently strengthen protections for cetaceans from the many risks they are facing and ensure the moratorium on commercial whaling stays firmly in place and is fully adhered to by all IWC members.”

Clare Perry, Environmental Investigation Agency UK senior advisor on ocean campaign said: “The ban on whaling has already saved the great whales from certain extinction and today it has an even more important role to play in securing the future of all whales, dolphins and porpoises from mounting threats including hunting, pollution, climate change and bycatch.”

Fast facts: 

  • In the 20th century, commercial whalers killed 2,894,094 whales, including 874,068 fin whales and 761,523 sperm whales. At the peak of their operations, commercial whalers were killing an average of 70,000 whales a year.  
  • The IWC’s commercial whaling ban was agreed in 1982 in a 25:7 vote, and came into effect worldwide in 1986. Catches fell to 6,361 that year. There are three countries that currently conduct commercial whaling: Norway, Iceland and Japan.  
  • The degradation of the ocean has accelerated rapidly in recent years, with ocean temperatures warming up to 40% faster on average than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change previously estimated.  
  • Science estimates that the amount of plastic entering the ocean will increase three-fold between 2016—2040 if urgent action isn’t taken. 
  • Ocean acidification has increased by 26% since pre-industrial times, and global maritime traffic as well as underwater noise levels from shipping, seismic surveys, exploration and military activities, have also significantly intensified. 
  • An estimated 300,000 cetaceans are killed annually as bycatch in fisheries.    

ENDS 

Media contact: Sally Ivens, Humane Society International/UK: sivens@hsi.org

Humane Society International


Rescued from a dog meat farm
Jean Chung

Thank you so much for your interest in making your will for free through our partnership with the National Free Wills Network.

All you need to do to begin making your will for free today is to send your full name and address to our legacy director, Adam West, at acwest@hsi.org. Or you can call 020 4548 1495 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

HSI/UK will then send your details to the National Free Wills Network, who will send you (within 10 working days):

– An information pack, explaining more about the service.
– A list of the participating solicitors in your local area.

If you would like any further information, please contact our legacy director, Adam West, at acwest@hsi.org or 020 4548 1495.

Thank you for your support and for everything you do to protect animals all over the world!

Humane Society International


Thank you so much for your interest in leaving a gift in your will to HSI/UK.

More and more of our supporters are making legacy gifts to protect the animals they love and care about long into the future. Thank you for also thinking of protecting animals all over the world in this special way.

To find out more, please download our free guide to will-making and legacies.

If you would like any further information, or if you would like our free guide sent to you in the post, please contact our legacy director, Adam West, at acwest@hsi.org or 020 4548 1495.

Thank you for your support and for everything you do to protect animals all over the world!

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