Canada Passes Legislation to Ban Captivity of Whales and Dolphins for Entertainment

Canada recently passed a legislation of banning whales, dolphins and porpoises from being kept in captivity for possession, captivity, trade, capture and breeding of cetaceans. 

The Bill S-203, which is otherwise known as the “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act,” was introduced initially in 2015 by Senator Wilfred Moore. It was then sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair and championed by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, once it was passed through the senate.

Earlier this week, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill.

“Canadians have been clear, they want the cruel practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity to end,” said Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader. “With the passage of Bill S-203, we have ensured that this will happen.”

Over 20 marine scientists and stakeholder organizations like Animal Justice, Humane Canada, Ontario Captive Animal Watch, Dr. Lori Marino and Dr. Naomi Rose of Whale Sanctuary Project, Humane Society International, World Animal Protection and a lot of other notable companies have endorsed and supported this bill.

“The passage of Bill S-203 is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals and a victory for all Canadians. Whales and dolphins don’t belong in tanks, and the inherent suffering these highly social and intelligent animals endure in intensive confinement can no longer be tolerated.

“We congratulate the sponsors of this bill and the Canadian government for showing strong leadership in responding to public will and sound science on this critical issue.” said Rebecca Aldworth, the executive director of Humane Society International-Canada.

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All future captivity of cetaceans in Canada, with an exception of those cases that are being rescued and rehabilitated, licensed for scientific research, or kept for the animal’s safety and best interest will now be phased thanks to Bill S-203.

According to the research of leading marine scientists, whales and dolphins undergo psychological and physical damage when forced and bred in captivity and isolation.

They suffer chronic health problems, abnormal and depressed behavior, high infant mortality and extreme boredom when they are not in their natural habitat.

At present, there are only two facilities in the Canada that still house cetaceans, and these are the Vancouver Aquarium and the Marineland located in Niagara Falls. They will no longer be able to breed, nor import new cetaceans to their facilities.

Hal Whitehead, a leading marine scientist said: “The living conditions for captive marine mammals cannot compare to their natural ocean environments in size, nor in quality.

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.”