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Victory: Canada Officially Bans Cetacean Captivity!

Victory: Canada Officially Bans Cetacean Captivity!

After being introduced over three years ago, Bill S-203 - which bans cetacean captivity in Canada - has finally passed! Thanks go to everyone who contacted Canadian decision-makers, and to the many organizations that have worked so hard to get this legislation passed.

Bill S-203 will make it officially illegal to hold any cetacean in captivity, including whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Breeding or trading reproductive materials of cetaceans will also be prohibited. Besides for rehabilitation and scientific purposes, any breach of this ban carries fines of up to $200,000.

Two facilities in Canada currently hold cetaceans captive. The Vancouver Aquarium, which has only one remaining dolphin, announced it would permanently phase out its cetacean exhibit after a ban on cetacean captivity in Vancouver Parks was enacted in 2018. Marineland in Ontario has not made such strides, as it holds more than 50 belugas, one orca, and five bottlenose dolphins. Unfortunately, these whales and dolphins will be grandfathered in, so they won’t be directly impacted by the passing of S-203. However, it is now illegal to breed them, which will lead to an inevitable phasing out of Marineland’s cruel cetacean exhibits - and bring the final end to the cetacean captivity industry in Canada.

We celebrate the fact that holding cetaceans in captivity will soon be a thing of the past in Canada. Also cause for celebration is what S-203 symbolizes: a societal shift in perceptions around captive cetaceans. Senator Wilfred Moore, who first introduced this bill, was inspired like many others after watching Blackfish. According to Green Party leader Elizabeth May, public support for the end of cetacean captivity is strong, and growing. This social pressure was felt in part due to the support of In Defense of Animals’ work and supporters. At least 10,000 emails and phone calls were sent to the Canadian government in support of the bill! 

Please support In Defense of Animals' ongoing efforts to shut down cruel facilities that use and abuse cetaceans. 

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