The Canada Senate is all set to bring in a bill this afternoon, to address the havoc caused the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises, in Canada. The bill is up in arms against the Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Coming soon after a ban imposed by Ontario on the buying, selling or breeding of orcas, the present bill proposes to amend the Fisheries Act to forbid live captures of wild cetaceans, except for in the case of injured animals. At present, the capture of these marine animals’ calls for a license from the minister of fisheries and oceans.
In addition to this, the proposed bill also regulates the export and captive breeding of these marine animals, possible only with an amendment to the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
Senate Liberal Wilfred Moore, along with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, was among the main proponents of the bill. Moore even urged parliamentarians and candidates to support the bill, whereas Elizabeth May said, “The science is clear that cetaceans are deeply sensitive, social animals and that maintaining them in captivity can never replicate nature”.
As a prime witness, a former trainer at Marineland, Phil Demers, spoke caustically of the practices going on at the park and hurled accusations stating that the park mistreated animals. He added that he had been a witness to the physiological and emotional consequences captivity imposed on the marine animals.
However, Marineland denied all the allegations, citing that it had a clear previous record and had never been prosecuted with respect to ill-treatment of animals.