Canadian lawmakers pass bill making whale, dolphin captivity illegal

The Canadian Government Has Officially Banned Whale & Dolphin Captivity After

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Canada has passed legislation that bans keeping whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity for entertainment, as well as the trade, possession, capture and breeding of cetaceans. The bill, which is expected to go into effect at the end of the month after heading back to the Senate for final approval, would also make it illegal to breed these marine creatures in captivity, or import or export them or their sperm or embryos, per the National Post.

While Canadian law has long held people and organizations accountable for mistreating marine animals, the new legislation would make it a crime to simply keep one.

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"[The park] has enough beluga whales in existence to probably continue for another 30 years, so no jobs are going to be lost as a result of this in the immediate future", Senator Murray Sinclair, the former judge who previously ushered the bill through parliament was quoted as saying by Canadian news agency CBC. There are exemptions for cetaceans now in captivity, as well as for rescue and rehabilitation efforts. It now awaits Royal Assent, after which it will become law. In 2013, the documentary Blackfish premiered, arguing that the conditions of captivity (tiny cages, close quarters to other whales, performance training) caused a whale named Tilikum to contribute to the deaths of three humans.

However, the bill contains exceptions if the animals are being rehabilitated following an injury or state of distress. Whales and dolphins that already live in captivity will be "grandfathered" into the bill, according to the CBC, so Canadian theme parks will be allowed to keep the animals they now own.

Conservation groups and NGOs have been pushing for the ban for years, many arguing that cetaceans' high levels of intelligence made prolonged captivity a form of animal cruelty. With the passage of Bill S-203, we have ensured that this will happen, " Green Party Leader and Saanich - Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May stated after the vote.

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