Marine Biologists Back Senate Ban on Whale CaptivityPublished on 5 May 2016 News & Photos by Senator Wilfred Moore (retired)
OTTAWA – 20 marine mammal biologists from around the world have released a letter backing Senator Wilfred Moore’s bill to phase out the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity. “At a minimum, the maintenance of [toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises] in commercial captive display facilities for entertainment purposes is no longer supported or justified by the growing body of science on their biological needs,” states the scientists’ letter (click here for letter). The signatories include two researchers at Halifax’s Dalhousie University.
“Marine biologists from around the world have confirmed what our moral intuition tells us – whales don’t belong in swimming pools,” said Senator Moore, a member of the Senate Liberal Caucus. “Bill S-203 is an evidence-based policy, and I hope all parliamentarians will support it.”
Senator Moore tabled Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, in December, 2015. The bill prohibits captive breeding, imports, exports, and live captures of all cetaceans – whales, dolphins, and porpoises – in Canada. The bill allows for the rescue and rehabilitation of injured individuals. Research is permitted on individuals currently in captivity, and on rescued individuals unable to return to the wild. S-203 is currently at Second Reading in the Senate.
There are nearly 60 captive whales and dolphins in Canada at two facilities – Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario and the Vancouver Aquarium. The Vancouver Aquarium has six beluga whales on loan to US theme parks including SeaWorld. Dr. Jane Goodall has condemned captive breeding of cetaceans as serving no scientific purpose.
If it passes the Senate, Bill S-203 will be sponsored by Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party and the Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. The bill also has the public support of Conservative Senator Janis Johnson; Phil Demers, the former Head Trainer at Marineland; Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Director of the CNN-distributed documentary Blackfish; Dr. Marc Bekoff of the Jane Goodall Institute; the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies; the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and Zoocheck Canada.
“Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent, emotional and social creatures that roam vast distances in the sea,” said Senator Moore. “Science tells us that keeping them in captivity is unjustifiably cruel. Canada’s laws should reflect the evidence.”
Office of Senator Wilfred Moore
Follow Senator Moore on Twitter: @SenWillyMoore
Sign and share the e-petition: https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-167
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