Ottawa passes legislation that bans whale and dolphin captivity in Canada

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On Monday, the Canadian House of Commons made it illegal to keep a whale, dolphin or porpoise captive.

Banning the capturing of wild cetaceans along with banning captive breeding and import and export of the handsome aquatic mammals, Ottowa on the 10th of June passed the legislation that criminalizes the acts, according to multiple reports. Anybody who violates this "is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding $200,000".

While Canadian law has long held people and organizations accountable for mistreating marine animals, the new legislation would make it a crime to simply keep one. At the time, it had one dolphin in captivity.

"Many scientists testified to why it was critical that we stop keeping cetaceans in captivity". Exceptions to the measure includes animals being rescued or rehabilitated or those cleared for scientific research. The "Free Willy" bill S203 - named after the 1993 movie about a young boy who frees an orca from a USA water park - will make cetacean captivity punishable by fines up to $US150,000 ($A215,000).

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Canada will now join the dozen or so countries which have adopted a "progressive stand against the keeping and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment", including Costa Rica and Chile, according to a spokesperson from the NGO. "This bill is a tremendous opportunity for Canada to be a world leader in protecting whales and dolphins, and polling shows that Canadians overwhelmingly support ending whale and dolphin captivity". The passage of the law has been lauded by animal-rights activists, who have campaigned against dolphins in captivity for decades.

The only two nurseries in the country, which is now contained whale is Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia. It will permit cetaceans already in captivity to be be kept by their keepers.

Get push notifications with news, features and more. Whales and dolphins that already live in captivity will be "grandfathered" into the bill, according to the CBC, so Canadian theme parks will be allowed to keep the animals they now own. We understand why because they are obviously not akin to other animals, for instance, livestock.

The legislation contains a grandfather clause, meaning marine mammals now held captive can stay confined but cannot continue breeding.

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