Finally after a three year fight with conservative parties, the Canadian bill “Ending the Captivity of Whales an Dolphin Act” has made its way through Canada’s Senate and onto the House of Commons.
Bill S-203 is a huge step forward for opponents of whale and dolphin captivity as it would ban all captivity across Canada.
Currently there are two current facilities in Canada that harbor the marine mammals, Marineland in Niagra Falls and Vancouver Aquarium. Vancouver Aquarium currently has one Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen remains at the aquarium. Marineland currently is home to multiple species including the largest beluga whale “collection” in the world.
Now, if Bill S-204 is able to be passed through the House of Commons, both aquariums will not be able to continue their whale and dolphin programs. Unfortunately for the mammals currently calling the aquariums home will, they will not be able to return back to the sea as they have lived their whole life in tanks for the purpose of human entertainment. Where the bill will really make a difference is ensuring that no wild dolphin or whale in the future will be caught to replace or fill a tank.
Before the vote took place, the Senate heard arguments from Vancouver Aquarium whom claim that keeping whales and dolphins captive is beneficial for research and educational purposes. Independent Sen. Mary Jane Callum, a supporter of the bill, said, “If scientists are truly interested in observing and understanding the actions and behaviours of these animals, they would be best suited doing this in the wild, where they are able to exist freely and without constraint.”