Canada Considers Ban on Captivity of Whales and Dolphins

Ottawa Hearing Marino Whitehead

The Canadian Senate is currently considering an amendment that would make it illegal to keep whales or dolphins in captivity.

Six team members of the Whale Sanctuary Project were invited to testify at hearings. You can watch the complete videos below.

March 3rd, 2017: Lori Marino, President of the Whale Sanctuary Project President, and Hal Whitehead, Professor of Biology, Dalhousie University:

Dr. Marino’s testimony focused on the false claims that research with captive dolphins and whales is necessary for conservation work. She also discussed her public findings showing no compelling evidence that animal displays in zoos and aquariums have educational value.

Dr. Whitehead spoke about the value of studies done with wild cetaceans, and he discussed a number of studies of behavior in wild populations and how these have more merit for conservation than studies in captivity.

April 4th, 2017: Naomi Rose, Marine Mammal Scientist for the Animal Welfare Institute, and Rob Laidlaw, Director of Zoocheck:

Dr. Rose offered science-based arguments that dolphins and whales cannot thrive in concrete tanks.

And Rob Laidlaw argued that the bill (S-203) merely codifies a trend away from displaying healthy cetaceans in captivity in Canada and will have minimal impact on conservation.

June 1st, 2017: Ingrid N. Visser, Founder and Principal Scientist of the New Zealand-based Orca Research Trust, and Kathryn Sussman, Consultant to the Vancouver Humane Society and to Zoocheck:

Kathryn Sussman countered the argument that since the bill would ban cetaceans from being kept in captivity, it would impact the rescue of stranded whales.

And Dr. Visser provided forceful scientific evidence that the welfare of cetaceans is severely compromised when they’re held in concrete tanks.

The amendment is currently at committee stage in the Senate of Canada and consideration will resume in September.

4 Comments On “Canada Considers Ban on Captivity of Whales and Dolphins”

  1. This was an incredibly interesting meeting at the Canadian Senate hearing. You all did a fantastic job sticking to just the facts. Clearly, a member or two of the senate was trying to provoke or agitate or throw you off topic but you both hung in there an stepped up unequivocally for our fin kin. Kudos to you both, excellent work!

  2. Thank you to the Whale Sanctuary Project for putting these films all in one place regarding the Canada Senate Hearings on ending captivity. As we, here in Hawaii, prepare for our Legislative bill to end captivity by phasing out captivity (until we can plan a seaside sanctuary,) end breeding and stop transfers, the facts in all 6 testimonies, delivery and patience in providing excellent answers – gives us additional knowledge and carries us towards our efforts.

  3. Stop Captivity!

  4. Current “entertainment” facilites should be transformed into temporary rescue and healing facilities with oversite to ensure the whales and dolphins are set free promptly when healed. So-called entertainment needs to stop even if it means shutting down places like Marineland in Ontario.

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