For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Senate Liberal to Ban Captivity of Whales and Dolphins
OTTAWA – Senator Wilfred Moore has announced a federal bill to phase out the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity. “Keeping whales and dolphins in captivity is unjustifiably cruel,” said Senator Moore. “We should do the right thing and end the practice in Canada.” Senator Moore, a member of the Senate Liberal Caucus, will table the bill in the Senate this afternoon. He and several stakeholders – including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May – will offer details at a press conference today at 12:15 pm in the National Press Theater in Ottawa.
Senator Moore’s bill has the support of Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of the CNN-distributed documentary Blackfish, which outlines the suffering of captive orcas. It also has the support of four ex-whale and dolphin trainers; Dr. Marc Bekoff of the Jane Goodall Institute; the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies; the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and Zoocheck Canada (see below for quotes).
The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act prohibits captive breeding, imports, exports, and live captures of all whales, dolphins, and porpoises in Canada. The bill allows for the rescue of injured individuals. It builds on a recent Ontario law, which phases out keeping orcas in captivity (currently, there is one captive orca at Marineland in Niagara Falls, and approximately 50 beluga whales and dolphins at that facility and the Vancouver Aquarium).
Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Director of Blackfish
“I made Blackfish because I wanted to understand why a trainer came to be killed by a killer whale. I did not come from animal activism and had even taken my kids to SeaWorld. I simply had a question. I soon learned the heartbreaking story of orcas in captivity. All whales and dolphins suffer in marine parks, and seeing these incredible creatures reduced to performing tricks has no social, educational, or conservational value. It is time for us to evolve. I hope Canadians get behind Senator Moore’s bill and end this practice.”
This bill also has the support of three ex-SeaWorld trainers who appeared in Blackfish: John Hargrove, Samantha Berg, and Jeff Ventre.
Phil Demers, former Head Trainer at Marineland
“As a former Marine Mammal Trainer, I believe the bill to ban cetacean captivity and breeding in Canada is imperative and long-overdue. I have witnessed the physiological and emotional consequences captivity imposes on these magnificent beings, and those who care for them. No living being should be forced to endure what I've witnessed, and it's my hope that this bill will finally put an end to these cruel practices.”
Dr. Marc Bekoff, Ethics Committee for the Jane Goodall Institute
“Science has clearly established that whales and dolphins suffer deep and enduring psychological and physical harms in captivity. The practice is ethically indefensible, and Senator Moore’s proposed ban would be a timely and important change in Canadian law. These highly intelligent, emotional, and social species deserve to live free in the wild, where they belong.”
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
“Canadians do not support the archaic practice of confining and breeding whales and dolphins for the purpose of our entertainment. This bill puts Canada in a leadership position by advancing marine mammal science without exacting a cost to individual animals.”
This bill also has the support of the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“This Bill will address Canada’s outdated and inconsistent laws regarding the importation and possession of whales and dolphins and will bring Canada into lockstep with other progressive jurisdictions around the world that have moved to address cetacean captivity issues. But, perhaps most importantly, it will finally address the deprivation and suffering that these animals endure in tanks and pools.”
Senator Wilfred Moore
“I hope all parliamentarians and candidates will back this going into the election. Bottom line, whales should not be kept in swimming pools.”
Office of Senator Wilfred Moore
Office of Senator Wilfred Moore