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Canada bans captivity and breeding of orcas and dolphins

Orcas, dolphins and other cetaceans have made for popular attractions at some aquatic theme parks for decades, but their presence has raised concerns about the ethics of confining them for the purposes of human entertainment.

ELI ROSENBERG: ‘Canada has banned the practice of keeping dolphins, whales and porpoises in captivity after a long-fought for piece of legislation passed resoundingly. The “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act,” which was first introduced in 2015, outlaws the practice, as well as the trade, possession, capture and breeding of cetaceans. The measure, which passed by a wide margin in the House of Commons on Monday, had been championed by animal rights groups like the Humane Society International, Animal Justice, the Whale Sanctuary Project and others. It was passed previously by the country’s Senate…

Orcas, dolphins and other cetaceans have made for popular attractions at some aquatic theme parks for decades, but their presence has raised concerns about the ethics of confining whales for the purposes of human entertainment. Lori Marino, the president of the Whale Sanctuary Project, noted that whales are “among the most cognitively complex of all animals,” in a statement about the bill’s passage. “Confining them to life in a concrete tank is truly unbearable for them,” she said…

Hal Whitehead, a biology professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and an expert on whales in the wild, testified in front of Canada’s lawmakers in support of the ban. He told The Washington Post that he did not believe that keeping whales in captivity was ethical. “The environment in captivity is so utterly different from that in the wild in a number of ways which appear to be very meaningful to the animals,” Whitehead said. He said that orcas in the wild can swim lengths of 30-60 miles a day; their home range might be some 600 miles. But this habitat is reduced to a concrete tank in captivity, reducing a vast expansive range into a holding pen’. SOURCE…

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