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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

IAR joins the campaign to protect the world's whales

With the final vote by the International Whaling Commission on whether to legalise commercial whaling just days away, International Animal Rescue is urging people to act to protect the world's whales from slaughter.

If the pro-whaling lobby is successful, commercial whale hunting will be legalised for the first time in a generation.

The outcome rests on whose voices are heard most clearly in the final hours: those in favour of slaughtering whales - or the world's people.

More than 650,000 people have signed the petition to protect whales and IAR is joining efforts to ensure that the figure tops 1 million. At the whale summit in Morocco, campaigners have erected billboards, placed front-page newspaper ads, and installed a giant, constantly-updating petition counter to ensure that, from the moment they step off the plane until they cast their votes, delegates see from the soaring numbers that the world will not accept legal whale slaughter.

To stop the whalers, people are being asked to sign the petition and then forward the link to everyone they know:

Thanks to the worldwide outcry, many governments have already pledged to oppose the proposal. Each time the whale petition added 100,000 signatures, it was sent again to the IWC and key governments - and some, like New Zealand, thanked everyone who had signed on.

But pressure from the other side has been relentless and now other governments, especially in Europe and Latin America, may abstain or even support the proposal. The vote could go either way.

People pressure is the whales' best hope. After all, it was an explosive worldwide social movement in the 1980s that led to the commercial whaling ban that is now under threat. As the International Whaling Commission met in Morocco on June 17 and is set to vote less than a week later, it is vital that the world's voices are there to greet them:

After the global ban was first implemented on commercial whaling, the number of whales killed each year plummeted from 38,000 per year to just a couple of thousand. It's a testament to the power of humanity to move forward.

However, despite the ban, Japan, Norway, and Iceland have continued whaling and are now pushing to make the IWC proposal as lenient as possible. Expecting permission to catch more whales than ever, Japan is reportedly planning to buy its largest whaling ship yet.

» Sign the petition against commercial whaling