VANCOUVER – National animal law advocacy organization Animal Justice is responding to the decision from the B.C. Supreme Court quashing, in part, a municipal bylaw aimed at preventing whales and dolphins from suffering in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium.
The Aquarium sought to overturn the Park Board bylaw passed in May, 2017 that bans confining whales, dolphins, and porpoises in Vancouver parks, including the Aquarium in Stanley Park. The Aquarium argued that it had a constitutional right to confine whales and dolphins. Animal Justice and Zoocheck focused on dismantling the Aquarium’s troubling legal claim that confining cetaceans is a form of expression protected under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The groups argued that confining whales is harmful and violent conduct not deserving of protection.
The Court decided that the anti-captivity bylaw did not apply to the Aquarium because of a licensing agreement signed betwee…
The federal government presented a new bill that updates the Fisheries Act this week, including restrictions on capturing wild whales and dolphins for the purpose of keeping them in captivity.
The amendments would still allow exceptions to rescue cetaceans who are injured, sick or requiring care, and are part of a larger set of changes which include the restoration and protection of fishes and their habitats. The government also wants to give itself the power to restrict the import of whales and dolphins into the country.
At a Vancouver press conference, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc explained, “The public acceptance of keeping these majestic creatures in captivity has changed and we think the law should reflect that.”
We couldn’t agree more. Tens of thousands of Canadians have been demanding a ban on whale captivity, and the minister’s comments show that we’ve got the government’s attention.
But the new legislation do…