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On Monday, the Canadian government officially passed the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, otherwise known as Bill S-203.
The bill makes it an offence to keep captive, breed, import, or export any whale, dolphin, or porpoise.
However, there are exemptions for cetaceans currently in captivity, as well as for rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont., and the Vancouver Aquarium in B.C. are the only two places that currently keep captive cetaceans.
BREAKING NEWS! Bill S-203 passed into LAW! Canada has put an end to the captivity of whales & dolphins unless they need rehabilitation. Thank you for your THOUSANDS of signatures! Learn more & write your MP to celebrate! https://t.co/4oeaHyB0L5#BillS203 #cdnpoli #AnimalWelfare pic.twitter.com/1x4sGBZdKU— BC SPCA / BCSPCA (@BC_SPCA) June 10, 2019
“Bill S-203 not only bans the capture and confinement of whales and dolphins, it also criminalizes the breeding of captive cetaceans—a North American first,” says Dr. Sara Dubois, the BC SPCA’s chief scientific officer.
“We’ve known for some time now that cetaceans are a highly intelligent, social, deep-diving species whose needs simple cannot be met in a tank,” added Dr. Dubois.
“Scientific evidence shows that confining whales and dolphins causes them physical and mental pain and suffering.”
According to the BC SPCA, the bill was over four years in the making and underwent more study than any other bill in recent history.