MEDIA RELEASE: Victory! Canada Makes Whale and Dolphin Captivity Illegal
OTTAWA, CANADA (June 12, 2019) – In Defense of Animals applauds Canada’s passing of Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, which passed through the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada on Monday, June 10, 2019.
First introduced by Senator Wilfrid Moore in 2015, the legislation will officially make it illegal to hold any cetacean in captivity, for reasons other than rehabilitation and scientific research. Breeding or trading reproductive materials of whales and dolphins will also be prohibited. Any breach of this ban carries fines of up to $200,000.
“We applaud Canada for passing this progressive legislation, since whales and dolphins suffer greatly in captivity, no matter the size of the tank,” said Marilyn Kroplick M.D., President of In Defense of Animals. “The overwhelming support for this ban demonstrates how many Canadians are opposed to the inherent cruelty of keeping and breeding cetaceans.”
Two facilities currently hold cetaceans captive within Canada.
Vancouver Aquarium holds one dolphin captive. The ‘beluga breeding mill’ was shamed in #9th place on In Defense of Animals’ Ten Worst Tanks list, and faced significant public pressure regarding its cruel activities from many concerned citizens including world-famous Dr. Jane Goodall and thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters. The Vancouver Parks Board passed a captive cetacean ban in 2017, prompting the Aquarium to announce its plans to phase out its cetacean exhibit.
Marineland in Ontario is placed as #2 Worst Tank and continues to hold captive more than 50 belugas, five bottlenose dolphins, and Canada’s last captive orca. All of these animals will be grandfathered in, so the passing of the Ending the Captivity of Whale and Dolphin Act will not directly impact them. However, Marineland will be required to halt all captive breeding at its facility, ultimately putting an end to the cetacean captivity industry throughout Canada.
Over 10,000 members of In Defense of Animals contacted Canadian decision-makers to support this historic bill, demonstrating significant public support for this important animal protection legislation.
“Keeping dolphins and whales in captivity, forcing them to perform degrading tricks and being placed on perpetual display, is archaic and not in line with scientific discoveries about their significant cognitive and emotional sophistication,” said Laura Bridgeman, Director of In Defense of Animals’ Cetacean Project.
“The time has come for the unethical captive animal industry to dissolve–and Canada has taken steps to ensure this will happen. We urge Marineland to abide by the spirit of the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, and the wishes of the Canadian people who stand by this landmark legislation, and release the dolphins and whales it holds captive to seaside sanctuaries.”
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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 36-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare and habitats through education, campaigns and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.