Canada Just Banned Whale and Dolphin Captivity

Katie Ramirez
June 12, 2019

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The bill bans the capture of wild cetaceans but allows for the rehabilitation and rescue of aquatic mammals.

Canada has approved a bill banning the capture and breeding of cetaceans such as whales and dolphins, now punishable by fines up to $200,000. Today, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favour of Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act. "This is news to splash a fin at", Humane Canada wrote. It recently filed a lawsuit aiming to reverse a ban already in effect outlawing the captivity.

Marineland in Niagara Falls and the Vancouver Aquarium are the only two places in Canada with cetaceans in captivity. Indeed, the amusement park has even suggested the bill would make it necessary to terminate late-stage pregnancies of beluga whales. "We thank the federal government and all those involved in the passage of Bill S-203, so that our laws can finally align with the Canadian peoples' values and end this cruel practice". Whales and dolphins that already live in captivity will be "grandfathered" into the bill, according to the CBC, so Canadian theme parks will be allowed to keep the animals they now own. In 2013, the documentary Blackfish premiered, arguing that the conditions of captivity (tiny cages, close quarters to other whales, performance training) caused a whale named Tilikum to contribute to the deaths of three humans.

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The new law will contain exceptions for marine mammals who require rehabilitation following an injury or licensed for scientific research, while parks can also keep the animals they now own.

"Many scientists testified to why it was critical that we stop keeping cetaceans in captivity".

'This is such an important law because it bans breeding, making sure the whales and dolphins now kept in tiny tanks in Canada are the last generation to suffer, ' Melissa Matlow, campaign director for World Animal Protection Canada, said in a statement.

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