Canada’s New Legislation Banns Whales and Dolphins to Be Held in Captivity

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Animal rights activists have won the game. They celebrate the news in social media with hashtags #EmptyTheTanks and #FreeWilly. 

New legislation is banning whales, dolphins and porpoises to be bred and held in captivity. Fines of up to 200,000 Canadian dollars (about $150,000) can be charged for violations. 

There are some exceptions: Marine mammals already captive will be allowed to remain so. And if rehabilitation from some injury is required, the animal can be retained for a necessary period. Such purposes as of licensed scientific research have their privileges as well.



Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of HSI/Canada stated: “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.” 

The measure, known as the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, was introduced in 2015 by a senator Wilfred Moore of Nova Scotia. In 2018 Canada’s Senate passed the measure. The legislation passed into law in 2019.



The measure impacts Marineland (the Niagara Falls amusement park and zoo). The CBC reports that Marineland “owns about 61 of these animals, — 55 beluga whales, five bottlenose dolphins and one orca, or “killer whale.” Nevertheless, the park complied with the measure. 



The Vancouver Aquarium stated that it would no longer keep dolphins and whales for display. Parks in the U.S. announce that they were stopping breeding and holding whales in captivity and directing their focus on to marine mammal rescue operations. 

The public believes that the continuing importation and display of these intelligent and sociable mammals is unethical.

Read more: An Endangered Species Success Story: A Population of Humpback Whales in the South Atlantic Has Recovered From the Brink of Extinction

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