Sea World de San Diego. © Paul Harris / AFP

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Canada Bans The Capture And Breeding Of Cetaceans

But the law isn't retroactive: dolphins, orcas and belugas currently held in captivity will remain there.

On Monday, the Canadian parliament approved a draft bill banning the breeding and captivity of cetaceans including whales and dolphins, a decision which has been applauded by animal rights activists. 

The draft bill, which was drawn up in 2015 and still requires symbolic royal approval, modifies the criminal code to ban the captivity and forced reproduction of these marine mammals in Canada, among other practices. 

The law will not be retroactive so cetaceans currently held in captivity will not be released, and certain exceptions will apply in the case of animals requiring rehabilitation following injury or in the event that authorization is granted by the authorities. 

Marineland at the Niagara Falls and the Vancouver aquarium are the only two establishments in Canada to hold captive cetaceans. 

"The Last Generation To Suffer"

"This is such an important law because it bans breeding, making sure the whales and dolphins currently kept in tiny tanks in Canada are the last generation to suffer," Melissa Matlow, campaign director at the NGO World Animal Protection Canada, declared in response to the news.

Canada will now join the dozen or so countries which have adopted a "progressive stand against the keeping and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment", including Costa Rica and Chile, according to a spokesperson from the NGO.

"We hope other countries will now follow Canada's lead and that travel companies will also realize the declining acceptance for these types of attractions", the NGO continued.

British travel company Thomas Cook expressed willingness to remove attractions involving "captive orcas" from its catalogue in summer 2018 after reassessing the group's policy on animal wellbeing. 

In April, images of a hundred orcas and belugas held captive in tiny tanks in Russia shocked people around the world, prompting the country to announce their liberation: 

Konbini with AFP

 

Article translated by: Eleanor Staniforth

By Astrid Van Laer, published on 11/06/2019

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