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Parks Board Delays Vote to End Vancouver Aquarium's Cetacean Captivity

Parks Board Delays Vote to End Vancouver Aquarium's Cetacean Captivity

Parks Board Delays Vote to End Vancouver Aquarium's Cetacean Captivity

The Vancouver Parks Board in British Columbia surprised everyone at a January 23 public meeting when it decided not to vote on whether keeping cetaceans in captivity within Vancouver should go before city voters in 2018. Instead, a new motion was proposed and approved to have the board staff create and deliver a report in thirty days that will describe alternatives to the referendum.

Reactions from anti-captivity advocates and organizations were mixed. Because this issue has been before the Parks Board on numerous occasions, some advocates fear that the report and hearing will be a delaying tactic that would allow Vancouver Aquarium to rally its substantial financial resources to fight any measure that would end cetacean captivity. Other advocates feel the new proposal might result in the Parks Board taking action far more quickly than a referendum that would not happen until late 2018.

The tragic November 2016 deaths of two beluga whales, 29 year old Aurora, and her 21 year old daughter Qila, who died slowly from unknown causes nine days apart, rekindled passions to end captivity in Vancouver. This, and the deaths of three additional belugas who died within three years of being born there since 2005, earned Vancouver Aquarium the #9 spot on In Defense of Animals' 2016 Ten Worst Tanks list. Vancouver Aquarium operates as a nonprofit but maintains and supports for-profit captivity businesses elsewhere, including SeaWorld whose abusive beluga whale breeding program is entirely dependent upon Vancouver Aquarium.

It's disappointing that some Vancouver Parks Board Commissioners still seem not to have an understanding of why the public is turning against whale and dolphin captivity. We'll continue to keep you updated on this issue.

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