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 doesn’t include a ban on breeding captive whales and dolphins—an essential part of protecting them from the cruelty of captivity. There are still dozens of captive belugas and dolphins in Canada, primarily at Marineland in Niagara Falls. If aquariums are allowed to continue breeding these sensitive creatures, it will be business as usual. Their offspring will be condemned to the misery and deprivation of life in a tiny tank.
Which is why we need Senate Bill S-203—the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act—to continue swimming through Parliament and become law.
Bill S-203 would ban whale and dolphin captivity across the country, end captive breeding, and ban the import and export of whales and dolphins, along with their reproductive materials.
And even though the Bill cleared the Senate Fisheries Committee last October, it has been languishing ever since. Conservative senators, particularly Senate Whip Don Plett, have been using sneaky delay tactics to stall this bill from reaching its final Senate vote.
TAKE ACTION and email Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, Conservative Senate leader Larry Smith, and Conservative Members of Parliament to demand they stop stalling and send Bill S-203 to the Senate floor.
As public support for imprisoning whales and dolphins continues to plummet, it’s only a matter of time before this cruel practice sinks altogether. Public pressure already forced the Vancouver Aquarium to give up on whale and dolphin captivity last month. Now, let’s make sure this outdated practice becomes illegal right across the country.
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