This story was published on October 6, 2018.
Canadians were met with amazing news earlier this year that both the sale and captivity of large marine animals such as whales and dolphins would be banned in Canada thanks to Bill S-203. The Bill was introduced in December 2015 by Liberal member Wilfred Moore and was called the 'Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act."
When news hit the mainstream media, most Canadians assumed the great news was final- when media outlets reported that the captivity of these animals was banned, it seemed pretty straightforward, it's banned. We no longer would have to witness marine animals being held captive in small tanks and below average living conditions in places such as Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium ever again. The thing is, it turns out it wasn't ever necessarily banned in the first place.
It all started when the government bill was introduced and got through the initial proceedings in order to reach the House of Commons. From there, it was assumed that the large public outcry for freeing marine animals would allow for the bill to be immediately passed. Instead, the same bill is in the news yet again not because the animals are free, but because they are still being held captive three years later.
That's right, unfortunately, since 2015, that same bill has been tabled in the House of Commons for the past three years meaning it is still very much legal for places like Marineland to host animals such as beluga whales and dolphins. Why exactly? The Conservative side continues to keep blocking it from going through.
Senator Don Plett and the rest of the Conservative party continue to obstruct the bill every time the vote to pass it comes about. The tactic has been followed by other members of the Senate such as David Tkachuk, who has attempted to introduce an amendment to the bill that would exempt Niagara Fall's Marineland location and the Vancouver Aquarium from having to give up their animals- even though they are the only two areas in Canada that are holding those animals in captivity right now.
The battle against the captivity of large marine animals has not been a quiet one, ever since the release of Blackfish, the general public has become a lot more aware of how tragic captive life can be for these dolphins and whales. As a result, the demand for freeing these animals has become louder and louder over the years.
If the situation exposes anything about the Canadian government, it's that the Senate has a serious problem when it comes to navigating around parties who are voting with their own special interests in mind. Where Don Plett is branding the fight against captivity as a "battle between activists and scientists" where the government cannot act as an "activist chamber." Others believe this ban is the least we can do for animals who have suffered in captivity for the sake of human entertainment for decades.
Source: Niagara Falls Review