Canada bans keeping whales and dolphins in captivity

Dolphin

Dolphin

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As of today, the Canadian government has officially banned whale and dolphin captivity in Canada after years of delay.

"Bill S-203 not only bans the capture and confinement of whales and dolphins, it also criminalizes the breeding of captive cetaceans - a North American first", said Dr. Sara Dubois, the BC SPCA's chief scientific officer.

Bill S-203, the "Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act", originated in the Senate in 2015, and was passed by the House of Commons on Monday.

Lawmakers passed the legislation, called "Free Willy" by its advocates, on June 10.

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HSI is at the forefront of a global movement to end the captivity of cetaceans for entertainment.

Marineland in Niagara Falls and the Vancouver Aquarium are the only facilities 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. 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.

The bill makes exceptions if the animals are rescues, in rehabilitation or licensed for scientific research, or when it's in the animal's best interests. It would penalize anyone who keeps a cetacean in captivity, breeds or impregnates a cetacean, or anyone who possesses or seeks to obtain reproductive materials of cetaceans, the bill states.

'Canada is now one of 11 leading countries that have taken a progressive stand against the keeping and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment, ' with Costa Rica and Chile among the others, said Nina Devries, the spokeswoman for the animal rights group.

The Green Party of Canada celebrated in a statement, tweeting, "When we work together, good things happen". "Cetaceans require the ocean, they require the space, they require acoustic communication over long distances".

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