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A new e-petition aimed to end marine animals in captivity has been signed and supported by the BC SPCA.
Canadian senator and Member of Parliament, Elizabeth May sponsored the e-petition entitled e-167. The petition states that “whales and dolphins are intelligent, social and roaming creatures. Scientific evidence shows that they suffer unjustifiably when kept in display tanks, and the practice of keeping them in display tanks is plainly cruel.”
May, the only Green Party Member of Parliament, are using the e-petition to pass Bill S-203, “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act.”
“The BC SPCA recognizes the complex need of cetaceans, and their highly sentient and social nature,” said chief scientific officer for the BC SPCA, Dr. Sara Dubosi.
“The society is opposed to the capture, confinement, and breeding of marine mammals for entertainment, or educational display.”
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies said while marine animals often attract large crowds to aquariums and zoos across Canada, the “aquarium is a very different environment from the natural environment of these large and beautiful animals, and causes them to suffer physically, psychologically and mentally.”
Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) is currently the governing body that oversees and promotes the cultural standards for animals in zoos and aquariums.
While CAZA does have a code of ethics for marine mammals living in these environments, CAZA’s position on the use of wild or exotic animals for performance, shows, or acts states it supports these activities if certain criteria are met. Two of the criteria include that the practice does not negatively affect the physical or behavioural health of the animals, and the animals are trained to perform only actions or tasks which are considered to be part of their natural behaviour.
The BC SPCA said it is not possible for large marine animals to have full access to the basic freedoms they deserve when they are not given access to large and diverse aquatic habitats. The BC SPCA said “it is time to phase out these displays.”
If Bill S-203 does get introduced into the House of Commons, it will end the captivity of whales and dolphins in Canada.
The e-petition currently has 4813 signatures, and is available to be signed through the Parliament of Canada website under the e-petition section designed for the House of Commons.
The petition is open for signatures until June 18th, 2016.
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