The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act or the “Free Willy Bill” passed the Canadian House of Commons with overwhelming support. Photo by twphotos/iStockphoto

In a powerful affirmation of the rising global tide against the use of marine animals in performing acts, Canadian lawmakers today voted to end the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment.

The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act or the “Free Willy Bill,” passed by the Canadian House of Commons with overwhelming support, includes a sweeping ban on the trade, possession, capture and breeding of all cetaceans for entertainment.

Just two facilities in the country house cetaceans — the Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland in Niagara Falls. They will no longer be able to breed or import any new cetaceans into their facilities, and no similar operations can be established in Canada.

Humane Society International/Canada campaigned for years — along with a broad coalition of key stakeholders, including other leading animal welfare groups, prominent marine scientists and parliamentarians from all political parties — for this ban. We are grateful to former Liberal Senator Wilfred Moore who introduced the bill in December 2015 in the Senate, and to Senator Murray Sinclair, who sponsored it. In the House of Commons, the bill was championed by Green Party Leader and Saanich–Gulf Islands Member of Parliament Elizabeth May.

The global movement to end the captivity of marine animals in entertainment has snowballed in recent years, with the Humane Society of the United States and HSI at its forefront. We know that whales and dolphins bred and held in confinement suffer from severe psychological stress and have high mortality rates and injuries. Today’s news is yet another si …

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