Cetaceans in the wild are good for the environment of the Earth. When they dive and come back up they bring with them nutrients from the depths. This allows for plant plankton to thrive on the ocean surface, which makes the air chock-full of oxygen – obviously something very important for sustaining life. Of course, these animals being a crucial element to our prolonged survival is not the only reason they should be swimming happily out in the open waters. They are very intelligent, empathetic, and social creatures that deserve to be left in peace to roam freely with each other in the oceans. It is cruel to imprison them in a tank just for the viewing pleasures of humans and as a means for making money.
Countries around the world are beginning to take the rights of these majestic creatures seriously. There are over a dozen jurisdictions that have already banned the captivity of some or all cetaceans in tanks, including Mexico, France, South Carolina, and California. Recently, Canada has joined on board but only after a long and arduous battle.
Three years ago, in December of 2015, Bill S-203 was introduced by Senator Wilfred Moore. Senator Murray Sinclair then took over as the sponsor after Senator Moore’s retirement. Since then, the bill had undergone persistent delay and obstruction before finally passing through the Canadian Senate. Now that the legislation has been voted to pass by the senators it will make its way to the House of Commons for further debate and voting. Green Party leader Elizabeth May will sponsor the bill in the House of Commons.
Animal Justice proclaims:
“We have been fighting to help pass this bill from the beginning. Bill S-203 enjoys broad public support from Canadians, and it was saved more than once by the incredible advocacy of people who emailed senators, made phone calls, and shared information about Bill S-203 on social media.”
The legislation bans people from keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, breeding them, as well as importing and exporting them, with exceptions for legitimate rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Fines of up to $200,000 could be imposed on parks breaking the law. As for the animals the parks already have in their possession, the parks are allowed to keep them retained, but it will be forbidden for them to breed another generation. This is only because captive-bred animals are never totally equipped for a life in the wild.
Although, many activists do hope that the marine mammals currently in captivity in Canada eventually would be moved to an open water seaside sanctuary. The Whale Sanctuary Project plans to build one in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, or Washington. This will be a dream come true for retired whales and dolphins who have spent a life confined in concrete tanks. The activists will continue to fight for this to become the reality.