Vancouver Aquarium Approves Bylaw Banning Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises In Captivity

Vancouver Aquarium

VANCOUVER — Another incredible feat in animal welfare has happened this week, as the Vancouver Aquarium has approved a bylaw banning whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity.

This news comes just after two beluga whales died suddenly last year due to an unidentified toxin that was found in their body.

The board voted six to one in favor of approving the bylaw at a meeting Monday night, while hundreds of protesters gathered outside to loudly voice their opposition to the ban.

The park’s board of staff amended the current bylaw to ban the importation and display of live cetaceans in the city’s parks. This bylaw goes into effect immediately.

The aquarium currently has three cetaceans on display, including a false killer whale, a harbour porpoise and a Pacific white-sided dolphin. All three will be allowed to stay under the new rules, but the bylaw prevents them from being used in shows or performances.

Vancouver Aquarium’s CEO John Nightingale, said in a statement that the move will force rescuers to euthanize animals that can’t be released back into the wild.

We find that very hard to believe as there would be many marine rescue facilities that would step up to take in the remaining cetaceans or retire them to seaside sanctuaries.

“There are no other long-term homes or options in Canada for rescued, non-releasable cetaceans,” he stated.

There are enough marine rescues around the world that the Vancouver Aquarium could turn to for help in order to relocate the cetaceans rescued from the wild that cannot be re-released. Euthanasia should never be the choice.

“People against the ban say that this would prohibit the aquarium from rescuing animals. We believe that this would do the opposite and only lead by example to show other aquariums and marine mammal entertainment companies, like SeaWorld, to follow in their footsteps. This would only promote the proper education to view these animals in their natural habitat, not force them into a life of captivity in an unnatural environment,” says Katie Cleary, WAN’s President.

“The difference between bringing these animals into captivity to make money for entertainment purposes and rescuing an injured marine mammal, are two different conversations. These animals should be able to be rescued from the wild, rehabilitated and released where they came from. The cetacean ban should not be allowed to affect the Vancouver Aquariums ability to rescue and rehab injured marine animals.” -Katie Cleary

“If The Vancouver Aquarium really wanted to help these animals, they would change their name to The Vancouver Marine Animal Rescue Center.” -Katie Cleary.

-The Canadian Press

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