Canada Has Officially Banned Dolphin and Whale Captivity


Fighting for the animal rights, Canadian authorities banned breeding and holding whales and dolphins in captivity officially, by passing the law in the parliament. This law will ensure that whales—or aquatic mammals—will no longer be subject to the trauma of quarantine in aquatic entertainment parks.

By passing this law and implementing it in the reality Canada prevents marine animals from being subject to captive breeding, live captures, the import-export market, and also outlaws the possession of reproductive matter.

However, to rehabilitate marine mammals, who are already held in captivity, from injuries, or are still the subjects of limited scientific research, the bill does include some notable exceptions. Some of the aquariums, zoos, and parks will be allowed to keep their captive performing cetaceans but can no longer replace them.

The former Liberal Party senator discussing this law said:

“We have a moral obligation to phase out the capture and retention of animals for profit and entertainment. Canadians are calling upon us to do better—and we have listened.”

Animal rights defenders and marine scientists, such as Green Party Canada, have also celebrated news of the bill’s passage. They announced in tweets:

“When we work together, good things happen.”

According to experts, whales and dolphins face tremendous physical and psychological suffering while in captivity. They, also face some chronic health problems, prolonged isolation and extreme boredom, abnormal behavior, and high infant mortality.

The list of countries seeking an end to cetacean captivity is growing.  According to HSI/Canada executive director Rebecca Aldworth the passage of the bill as a “watershed moment” in the protection of the sea creatures is a victory for the people of Canada who want “a more humane country.” She stated that whales and dolphins don’t belong in tanks, and their inherent suffering in intensive detention can no longer be tolerated.

The most affected institutions by the law are the Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland in Niagara Falls. For instance, Marineland holds 55 beluga whales, five bottlenose dolphins, and one orca.

The ban was initially opposed by Marineland Park, but very soon they approved a statement to comply with the new legislation.

The law was easier accepted by the Vancouver Aquarium and they pledged to no longer hold cetaceans for entertainment purposes. In the meanwhile, they have held only one dolphin at the facility.

The Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon stated:

“The public told us they believed the continuing importation and display of these intelligent and sociable mammals was unethical and incompatible with evolving public opinion and we amended our bylaws accordingly.”

Following that attitude of protecting whales, in 2016, U.S.-based SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced an end to breeding captive killer whales. The company with its facilities, SeaWorld Parks in California, Florida, and Texas pledged to shift its focus to marine mammal rescue operations instead.

According to National Geographic, almost 60 orcas are held in captivity worldwide at various parks and aquariums (a third of those orcas living in the U.S.)

The company’s pledges will impact main attractions that include dolphin shows, so many of their authorities, such as the vice president of animal health and welfare, Hendrik Nollens, has defended the shows. He claimed that dolphins are faster and stronger than people.  He added that they are choosing and deciding whether to do the interaction or not.

On the other hand, Canadian marine scientist Hal Whitehead, who strongly supports the new law, stated that the living conditions for captive marine mammals cannot compare to their natural ocean environments in quality, nor size.


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