Keeping Whales and Dolphins in CaptivityPublished on 2 October 2014 Your Question Period by Senator Wilfred Moore (retired)
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Hon. Wilfred P. Moore:
My question today is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Leader, this note and question are from Ms. Caroline McNaught of Ottawa, Ontario, and she says:
Like me, many of you have likely heard of — if not seen — the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which details the suffering of captive killer whales in marine parks. Earlier this year, in response to that film, a California state legislator introduced legislation to phase out and eventually ban the keeping of killer whales in captivity.
In Canada, Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium currently keep over 40 whales and dolphins in captivity — including beluga whales, dolphins, and a killer whale. These creatures are highly intelligent and social, and they ordinarily swim vast distances every day. Yet Canadian law currently allows whales and dolphins to be kept in pools to perform tricks for paying customers. Evidence has shown that this practice causes unjustifiable suffering, and that is why countries like Chile, Costa Rica, and India have banned the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity.
Many other countries have imposed restrictions on imports and exports, unlike Canada, which has minimal restrictions on imports and does not regulate exports, allowing the Vancouver Aquarium to loan belugas to SeaWorld in the U.S. for captive breeding.
The Mayor of Vancouver and Jane Goodall have now called for an end to keeping the whales and dolphins in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium, and The Toronto Star has been running an investigative report into the notorious conditions at Marineland.
My question, leader, it’s the question of Ms. McNaught: “Would this government support amending our animal cruelty provisions to phase out and eventually ban keeping whales and dolphins in captivity in Canada?”