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Canada Moves to Ban Cetacean Captivity

| Laura Bridgeman
Topics: Bans, Legislation, Captivity Industry, Cetacean Habitat, Dolphin and Whale Trade

The Canadian government has taken another step towards banning dolphin and whale captivity throughout the nation.  

New legislation will ban the capture of any dolphin or whale from within Canadian waters for the purposes of keeping them captive. The legislation was tabled along with a slew of amendments to the Fisheries Act, which is currently being updated in order to reflect the evolving moral values of Canadians and to recoup from losses endured during the previous Conservative government.

“The public acceptance of keeping these majestic creatures in captivity has changed, and we think the law should reflect that”, said Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “We’re telling Canadians now we will be banning the capture of cetaceans for the purpose of keeping them in captivity. We think they will have massive support for that principle.”

While the amendments represent an important step in the right direction, there remains a way to go toward actually ridding the country of the captivity industry for good. A separate bill, Bill S-203, which is currently in the Senate, goes further in that it prohibits the import or export of cetaceans across borders and between facilities; it also prohibits the sale or transfer of cetacean embryos and sperm. Ultimately, this bill would see the permanent end to the industry in the country.

The amendments to the Fisheries Act are representative of a sea change in nationwide attitudes regarding captive cetacean entertainment. The Vancouver Aquarium recently announced an end to their captivity program due to public pressure – leaving Marineland, charged with many dubious accusations of animal abuse, as the only remaining facility in Canada that is committed to profiting off of cetacean lives.






Politely request them to support Bill S-203 and help ensure its passing, since keeping cetaceans in captivity for any reason is cruel. Note that cetaceans deserve to be free in the oceans, not forced to perform or be constantly on display at aquariums or amusement parks.

Photo credit AP / Phelan M. Ebenhack