Feds pass law banning whale and dolphin captivity

An orca in captivity

The new legislation, Bill S-203, passed the House of Commons today. "Canadians have been clear, they want the cruel practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity to end".

The new law will also restrict the importation and exportation of these animals - there will also be bans in place stopping them from being made to perform for entertainment purposes.

Whales and dolphins that are already in captivity will doubtless be grandfathered in by the bill, meaning parks can protect all of the animals they now indulge in.

"We've known for some time now that cetaceans are a highly intelligent, social, deep-diving species whose needs simple can not be met in a tank", says Dr. Dubois, the BC SPCA's chief scientific officer. We understand why because they are obviously not akin to other animals, for instance, livestock.

In a recent statement, the Green Party of Canada said, "These intelligent, social mammals will now get to live where they belong - in the ocean".

Bill S-203 was originally introduced by Senator Wilfred Moore in December 2015, then sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair after Senator Moore retired.

Despite the grandfathering, Phil Demers, a prone Marineland trainer-modified into activist, called it a "historical day for Canada". It will permit cetaceans already in captivity to be be kept by their keepers.

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The Vancouver Aquarium has just one dolphin left, advocacy groups say, but in January announced it would no longer hold whales and dolphins in captivity. Breeding of whales is also prohibited.

The bill does however make exceptions if the animals happen to be rescues, in rehabilitation, in need of assistance or licensed for scientific research. This decision was taken after in 2017, two Beluga (species is included in the "Red book") died at the aquarium.

Canada's lawmakers have voted to ban the captivity of whales and dolphins, though with a few caveats.

Demers, who is now involved in a legal battle with Marineland, said he hopes Canada's law sparks movement on the issue in other nations. There are plans for seven of the belugas to be sent to aquariums in Spain and the United States, however.

Marineland, for its part, has long said it treats its animals well.

The head of Humane Canada, an animal welfare group, said the legislation was needed.

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