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FINALLY CANADA PASSES HISTORIC CETACEAN ANTI-CAPTIVITY LAW

FINALLY CANADA PASSES HISTORIC CETACEAN ANTI-CAPTIVITY LAW
Source: Unsplash/PaulCarroll

Canadian lawmakers passed legislation on June 10 banning whale, dolphin, and porpoise captivity in the country.

Whales, dolphins and porpoises can no longer be bred or kept in captivity In Canada

The federal bill was approved in the House of Commons on Monday 10 June after first being introduced in the Senate in 2015. It now requires only royal assent to become law. Under the new law the practice of holding whales, dolphins and porpoises will be phased out, though animals currently in captivity will remain. It also bans the capture of wild dolphins and whales, or cetaceans, as well as the practice of captive breeding and the import and export of such animals.

Canada passes 'Free Willy' bill banning whale and dolphin captivitySource: YouTube/ABC-Express

Canada finally passes ‘Free Willy’ bill banning cetaceans in captivity

Ottawa, 6/10/19: Canada made history on Monday with the passing of Bill S-203: Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act. Bill S-203 will prohibit breeding, imports, exports and live captures of whales, dolphins and porpoises across Canada, building on Ontario’s Bill 80, which was passed on May 28, 2015.

Two aquaria in Canada currently house captive cetaceans, including the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia and Marineland of Canada, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The following cetaceans in their inventories will be grandfathered into this legislation:

  • Vancouver Aquarium – one Pacific white-sided dolphin (Helen)
  • Marineland of Canada – one orca (Kiska), five bottlenose dolphins (Tsunami, Echo, Lida, Sonar and Marina) and approximately 55 beluga whales

For well over three decades, Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project, has vigorously supported local efforts in Ontario to bring awareness to the plight of captive marine mammals. Dolphin Project has helped pass legislation all over the world to help protect dolphins and will continue to help do so until all the tanks are emptied.

“Canada is now on the right side of history with the passing of Bill S-203: Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act. Thirty years ago, I was sent a very disturbing photo of a dolphin named Duke, a bottlenose dolphin who for decades performed at Marineland in Niagara Falls until his demise in the early 1990s. Duke was in fact the most beat up dolphin I had ever seen. Thank you Cara Sands for standing up for Duke when nobody else would. This one is for you and Duke. It’s been a long time coming.” — said O’Barry.

Source: DolphinProject

They include the largest animal that has ever lived, the blue whale; the highly intelligent and communicative dolphins; the tusked narwhals, blind river dolphins, singing humpback whales, and the killer whale, pictured performing at Sea World Drive, San Diego — nearly eighty living species in all. Although hunting and other human activities have endangered most cetacean species, the outlook for many is improving.
Cetacea are one of the most distinctive and highly specialised orders of mammals They include the largest animal that has ever lived, the blue whale; the highly intelligent and communicative dolphins; the tusked narwhals, blind river dolphins, singing humpback whales, and the killer whale, pictured performing at Sea World Drive, San Diego — nearly eighty living species in all. Although hunting and other human activities have endangered most cetacean species, the outlook for many is improving. Source: Unsplash/NeONBRAND

Free Willy ban popular with animal rights groups but not with everyone

Under the new law, nicknamed the "Free Willy ban," parks and aquaria that violate the provisions could face fines of up to C$200,000, or more than US$150,000. 

However, the bill does make exceptions for the cultural traditions of indigenous peoples in the nation.

The new law in Canada comes after multiple documentaries in recent years have focused on animal living conditions within theme parks. One such film, CNN’s “Blackfish,” raised questions about whether animals can thrive in confinement and criticised in particular SeaWorld’s treatment of killer whales.

Animal rights groups including PETA and the Humane Society International/Canada have hailed the decision as a positive step toward addressing animal cruelty.

“The passage of Bill S-203 is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals and a victory for all Canadians," Humane Society International/Canada Executive Director Rebecca Aldworth said in a statement.

"Whales and dolphins don’t belong in tanks, and the inherent suffering these highly social and intelligent animals endure in intensive confinement can no longer be tolerated. We congratulate the sponsors of this bill and the Canadian government for showing strong leadership in responding to public will and sound science on this critical issue,” she added.

The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums, however, said in a statement to The Hill that the move "will needlessly tie the hands" of marine mammal advocates.

"Just as new science has shown that dolphins in zoos and aquariums live as long as or longer than their counterparts in the wild, the Canadian government has chosen to ignore those findings and pass a drastic and misguided measure that will deny Canadians the opportunity to see and experience these amazing animals up close and in person and will over time deteriorate its experts’ marine mammal expertise that has contributed so much to the well-being of marine mammals in human care and in the wild," the group said.

Source: TheHill.com

Dolphins, seen performing here in a Japanese aquarium, will be spared from captivity in future in Canada. The entire cetacean group are now protected by law from this kind of treatment. Cetaceans are highly intelligent aquatic mammals.
Performing cetaceans now a thing of the past in Canada Dolphins, seen performing here in a Japanese aquarium, will be spared from captivity in future in Canada. The entire cetacean group are now protected by law from this kind of treatment. Cetaceans are highly intelligent aquatic mammals. Source: Unsplash/kinsey
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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP WHALES AND DOLPHINS

Your support will help us fight to protect whales and other threatened and endangered wildlife. 1. Adopt a Whale. A symbolic adoption helps save real animals in the wild. 2. Take Action. Visit our Wildlife Action Center to send a message to government leaders. 3. Speak Up for Wildlife. ...4. Stay Informed. ...5. Become a Defender of Wildlife. Click for more details of how you can help Defenders.org help cetaceans.