Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Aquarium Says 'No' to Ending Practice of Keeping Animals in Captivity

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Aquarium Says 'No' to Ending Practice of Keeping Animals in Captivity

Article excerpt

Animals in captivity good for research: aquarium

--

VANCOUVER - Legislation to end the captivity of whales and dolphins would rob Canadians of vital research meant to defend such animals in the wild, says Vancouver Aquarium's chief executive.

John Nightingale said Liberal Sen. Wilfred Moore's plan to introduce a bill to ban cetaceans in marine parks is misguided because aquariums are essential to understanding the creatures and protecting them from climate change and pollution.

"I think the idea that animals ought to live free in nature is absolutely a natural human emotion, but we believe that is wrong," Nightingale said Friday.

"I am fond of saying I wish we lived in a world where we didn't need places like Vancouver Aquarium, but nature isn't free. Humans are having a bigger and bigger impact ... and we need to do a better job of reducing our impact."

The aquarium is currently undergoing a $100-million expansion including larger whale and dolphin tanks. But it has faced shifting tides of public and political opinion since the release of "Blackfish," a 2013 documentary about the marine park industry.

Two Vancouver Aquarium-owned cetaceans have died this year -- Hana, a dolphin who suffered a gastrointestinal disease last month, and Nanuq, a beluga who died after a broken jaw in February while on a breeding loan to Orlando SeaWorld.

Nightingale said both deaths were natural and there is "no evidence" to suggest cetaceans in captivity are any less healthy or active than those in the wild.

Moore told a news conference Thursday that keeping animals that live in large pods in the wild cooped up for entertainment is unjustifiably cruel and disturbing.

His bill would ban captive breeding, imports, exports and live captures of all whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada, while allowing for the rescue of injured creatures. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.