Canada Moves to End Whale and Dolphin Captivity!

In what could be an epic victory for whales and dolphins, a Canadian senator has just introduced federal legislation that would make it illegal to keep them in captivity throughout the country.

The legislation, Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, would effectively phase out captivity by banning captive breeding, imports, exports and live captures of all whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada, with exceptions for situations involving the rescue of injured animals.

Senator Wilfred Moore, who introduced the bill, cited a number of reasons behind his effort from social isolation and stress caused by captivity, in addition to calling the process of removing of individuals from the wild “disturbing.”

At a press conference held in Ottowa, he said:

For many Canadians the practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity for entertainment purposes is unacceptable. It is an ethical issue that engages our collective consciousness. Whales and dolphins should be seen and studied in their natural habitat, the oceans. Humans are the caretakers of this planet and as such must take on the responsibility of caring for the environment and all of the beings which inhabit it. Treating cetaceans as the highly intelligent species that they are and ensuring the freedom that they enjoy in their natural habitat is paramount for our own morality. It is time to acknowledge that empathy should extend beyond the human species.

Despite the best efforts of marine parks and advocates for the captivity industry to convince us keeping cetaceans in tanks is now a sort of necessary evil being done to help education and conservation efforts, the public seems to be wising up and turning against the practice as we continue to learn more about how harmful keeping them in tanks is.

Even with the best of intentions, we know for certain now that we can never meet the needs of these far-ranging, intelligent and social animals in captivity.

Thankfully, things are starting to change. The introduction of this bill comes just on the heels of a new law in Ontario that bans captive orcas. While animal advocates celebrated the news that no other orcas would suffer as Kiska, Canada’s lone orca, has, disappointment was expressed over excluding her, and other species just as deserving of equal consideration, including the dozens of dolphins and belugas held in Canadian aquariums.

According to a statement from Moore, there are approximately 50 beluga whales and dolphins between Marineland in Niagara Falls and the Vancouver Aquarium, with seven additional belugas on loan to aquariums in the U.S., including SeaWorld.

While they may never be able to enjoy the freedom they should have in the wild, this groundbreaking legislation will ensure that no more suffer the way they have in Canada and will help set the stage for a future where we work to study and protect them in the wild where they belong.

So far, the bill has gotten widespread support from a number of organizations and individuals working to protect cetaceans, including the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Zoocheck Canada and the Jane Goodall Institute, along with Gabriela Cowperthwaite, who directed Blackfish, three ex-trainers from SeaWorld including John Hargrove, Samantha Berg, Jeff Ventre and Phil Demers, the former Head Trainer at Marineland, who said in a statement the bill is long overdue.

He added, 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 Ive witnessed, and its my hope that this bill will finally put an end to these cruel practices.


Please sign and share the petition urging Canadian lawmakers to pass this hugely important piece of legislation.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio10 months ago

#81850 petition signed...

thank you Alicia...

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

Kathy Williams
Kathleen W3 years ago

Wow; what an eloquent statement by Senator Moore. What a compassionate man. God bless him.

Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Good for them.
Go Canada!

Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Good for them.
Go Canada!

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

Good news

Sarah Crockett
Sarah Crockett3 years ago

Wonderful news!

Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell3 years ago

Thank you