Canada bans capture and breeding of dolphins, whales

Federico Mansilla
Junio 11, 2019

The BC SPCA applauded the move by the federal government.

After the bill was passed by the Senate late past year, the Canadian government officially passed Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act on Monday, June 10.

"Canada is now one of 11 leading countries that have taken a progressive stand against the keeping and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment", with Costa Rica and Chile among the others, said Nina Devries, the spokeswoman for the animal rights group.

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".

Known as the "Free Willy" bill, S-203, it was first proposed in 2015 and now it is awaiting symbolic royal approval.

According to local reports, Marineland, a themed amusement park and zoo in Niagara Falls, also opposed the bill saying it would devastate attendance and threaten conservation efforts at parks where these animals are on display.

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Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont., and the Vancouver Aquarium in B.C. are the only two places that now keep captive cetaceans.

"We have a moral obligation to phase out the capture and retention of animals for profit and entertainment", Bill sponsor Senator Wilfred Moore said, "Canadians are calling upon us to do better - and we have listened". The bill works by making it an offence for the animals to be kept captive, bred, imported, or exported.

It allows for the rehabilitation and rescues of cetaceans.

"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. It was originally introduced by retired Senator Wilfred Moore alongside Green Party Leader - MP Elizabeth May and Humane Canada in 2015.

After the resolution was announced supporters went out on social media and celebrated with the tag #EmptyTheTanks.

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