The International Whaling Commission is the international regulatory body for whaling on the open seas. It was created following the signing of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in Washington, DC in 1946. The first annual meeting of the IWC took place in London, UK in 1949. The main function of the IWC is to govern whaling practices by providing protection to species, designating whale sanctuaries, funding & promoting research on whales and determining quotas.
Countries become members to the IWC following their agreeing and signing the Convention of 1946. Canada was amongst the original signatories to the convention in 1946 and the Protocol of 1956, however, since 1982, its membership has not been renewed; and currently is the only country to hunt whales while not a member of the IWC.
For more than 35 years, the staff of The Humane Society of Canada have been working across the country and around the world protecting Canadian interests and lending Canadian expertise to help people, animals and the environment. The staff of The Humane Society of Canada have been accredited observers to this international treaty negotiation.

This year's Annual Meeting of the IWC is taking place in St Kitts & Nevis, June 2006

A reported 70 nations have now signed the international whaling agreement and there is strong evidence that Japan has bought the votes of small developing nations. Japan and its allies are expected to use these votes to support secret ballots and other mechanisms in those dealing with environmental threats to whales, animal welfare, whale sanctuaries, whale watching and slaughter of whales and dolphins. In open defiance of the twenty year old ban on whaling, Japan, Norway, Iceland and other countries have slaughtered over 27,000 whales; and in the opinion of The Humane Society of Canada these countries are environmental outlaws.

Transparency International founded to to combating corruption has expressed deep concern over vote buying at the International Whaling Commission (See Box 5.2). More information on Transparency International can be found here.

The Humane Society of Canada supports ECO which is published at the whaling talks by a coalition of non-governmental organizations and can be found here.

The animal charity is also a member of the Global Whale Alliance fighting to end the slaughter of whales.