Vancouver Bans the Use of Dolphins and Whales in Aquariums

Vancouver Bans the Use of Dolphins and Whales in Aquariums

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beluga-whale-CC-Steve-Snodgrass

In a unanimous vote conducted by the Vancouver park board, dolphins, beluga whales, and other cetaceans are banned from being held in captivity for entertainment or research purposes.

The decision to intervene followed an announcement by the Vancouver Aquarium that it plans to build a multi-million dollar beluga exhibit to be unveiled in 2029, and amid an ongoing investigation of whale treatment at the facility.

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The board affirmed its historic, bipartisan support of ethical cetacean treatment after two days of public meetings. Over 50 presentations, for and against the ban, were heard–with divided support expressed in the viewing audience. But due to the recent deaths of two beluga whales at the aquarium in November, and lack of evidence showing that handlers could provide proper care for the sea mammals, the ban was passed .

The Vancouver park board is comprised of seven elected representatives — and all were pleasantly surprised by the unanimous vote.

“We have a group of commissioners here who are caring, compassionate, smart, and do their homework,” said Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon, according to the Vancourier. “We don’t always agree […] so did it surprise me that it was unanimous? Absolutely.”

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(Photo by Steve Snodgrass)

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