Canada bans the captivity of whales and dolphins


The so-called "Free Willy" bill will ban the keeping of cetaceans, and the breeding, import or export of any whale, dolphin or porpoise.

The man who blew the whistle on alleged animal abuses at Marineland hopes the federal government's new legislation aimed at banning whales in captivity is a "precedent-setting" move that spreads globally.

"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 at the NGO World Animal Protection Canada, declared in response to the news.

Whales, dolphins and porpoises are now held in captivity at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont., and the Vancouver Aquarium, and have been essentially grandfathered in under the new legislation. Dubbed 'Bill S-203, ' it won majority vote and would stop the confinement and breeding of the cetaceans in captivity.

The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act makes exceptions for cetaceans that are rescued or are in rehabilitation and for researchers who obtain a license from the government. "Cetaceans require the ocean, they require the space, they require acoustic communication over long distances", Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said in an interview with The Canadian Press. It will permit cetaceans already in captivity to be be kept by their keepers.

The animal rights group maintains that such displays can harm the animals.

Right here's "a victory for all Canadians who desire this to be a more humane country", talked about Aldworth, whose group modified into amongst a coalition of marine scientists and organizations backing the bill.

The Vancouver Aquarium announced past year that it would no longer house cetaceans and has one dolphin left at its facility.

A two-month-regular beluga whale calf swims along with her mother, Qila, at the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, B.C., in 2008.

In Marineland is about 50 belugas.

"It didn't take very long before I was deemed a problem employee because of the fact that I was taking the position that the animals needed more", he said.

Marineland, for its part, has long said it treats its animals well.