In a landslide vote, the Vancouver Park Board decided to officially ban the keeping of cetaceans in captivity within Vancouver Parks - meaning that the few dolphins still alive atthe Vancouver Aquarium are now (hopefully) the last generation ever.
The move to ban all cetaceans at the Aquarium came after two beluga whales, a mother and daughter, died of mysterious circumstances, that might have been connected with contaminated food. While the Aquarium authorities hinted at deliberate poisoning, police authorities in Vancouver indicated that there was no such evidence and no criminal investigation.
The vote was taken late Monday, with impassioned people from both sides of the debate in attendance. Thanks in large part to a serious amount of support for the ban over the last few months, the Park Board commissioners acted on the will of the people, as well as listened to the science and ethics that clearly states that captivity equals cruelty for cetaceans.
No Cetaceans in Captivity joined with Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project to write and circulate a letter signed by dozens of local and international organizations in support of the ban. Many individuals also wrote the Parks Board.
The ban does not apply to the cetaceans that are currently imprisoned in the aquarium, but the facility will no longer be able to import the belugas that it currently has out on breeding loans with other facilities, including deplorable places like SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium. Vancouver Aquarium will also not be able to import or purchase any other cetaceans from now on.
Despite pledging to end captivity by 2029, Vancouver Aquarium CEO John Nightengale has vowed to bring lawsuits against the Park Board to challenge the decision.
To all the activist and advocates everywhere who took the time to call and write the Park Board commissioners: give yourselves a huge pat on the back! Your voices were heard, resulting in one more major blow to this archaic industry.