Almost 3 million whales were killed for their oil and meat in the 20th century, bringing many species and populations to the brink of extinction. Forty years ago, in July 1982, the International Whaling Commission (IWC), meeting in Brighton, England, agreed that the inhumane and devastating commercial whaling industry had to end; the parties voted 25–6 for a global ban on commercial whaling. The ban, which took effect in 1986, is widely acknowledged as one of the most significant conservation victories of all time, saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of whales.
AWI, a leader of the Save the Whales movement of the 1960s and ’70s, was instrumental in securing the ban. To celebrate this landmark anniversary and call attention to the human-caused threats cetaceans still face, AWI and other animal protection and conservation NGOs are cohosting an event with the UK government at the Brighton hotel where the ban agreement was reached. Lord Goldsmith, Minister of State for the Environment, will unveil a memorial plaque at the site of the decision and recommit the United Kingdom to the conservation and welfare of cetaceans and to the future of the IWC.