Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ontario passes Bill 80: Banning Killer Whale Captivity

Photo by OCAW
There will be no more opportunity for Marineland to purchase, import, sell or breed orcas in the province of Ontario. Today the legislature passed Bill 80 an act to amend the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act which will effectively ban killer whale captivity.

Kiska, Canada's last remaining captive orca was not included in the bill and will remain at Marineland in solitary confinement unless Marineland owner John Holer decides to move her which is extremely unlikely.  Massive pleas were issued to the Ontario government from the public, activists and even retired TV personality and noted animal advocate Bob Barker who all had pushed for her to be either released or relocated to a more suitable facility where the highly social being would not be held alone.

Bill 80 will also include more regulations which may at least benefit Kiska and there will be an establishment of an animal welfare committee at every facility with marine mammals. A Technical Advisory Committee will determine new standards to the size of tanks for marine mammals and new guidelines for lighting, noise and interaction among animals. The committee will have representatives from several animal groups including Zoocheck, the Canadian Council on Animal Care the OSPCA and Marineland itself.  Many of these details have yet to be worked out or released to the public.

Anti Captivity activist Mike Garrett commented on Bill 80:

"This is not even close to a perfect Bill but an important part of the change that is happening everywhere right now.  Three years ago here in Ontario a law banning orca captivity would be unimaginable yet here we are.  Over a dozen orcas have languished and died at Marineland and now we'll never see them capture another wild orca again.  We will continue to push for more change to ensure ALL animals are safe from this terrible facility."

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