Video: Empty the Tanks protesters unfurl banners in front of Vancouver Aquarium beluga show

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      Normally, those who protest keeping whales and dolphins in captivity confine their demonstrations to outside the Vancouver Aquarium entrance.

      But during yesterday's worldwide Empty the Tanks protest, Vancouver activists ratcheted up their opposition by holding up two banners inside the facility during the beluga show.

      It began innocently enough as a Vancouver Aquarium staff member named Lauren opened by welcoming the crowd and cheerfully talked about the "Caring for Belugas" program.

      At the 24-second mark of the video below, several young people silently walked toward the whale tank. Then, they peacefully unfurled two banners.

      One said: "Lives Lost Here."

      The other said: "Still Suffering."

      The host of the show had to speak over the chants of protesters.

      It coincided with a noisy protest outside the facility. As the demonstrators' chants rang out, Lauren kept her composure and asked the people in the bleachers, "How is everyone here feeling today? Audience, let me hear you. How are you doing today?"

      Vancouver isn't the only city where there's vigorous opposition to keeping sentient creatures in swimming pools.

      Empty the Tanks protests also took place in Hong Kong, London, Dublin, Manchester, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, Perth, and dozens of other cities in 20 countries.

      This was the scene in San Diego.
      The Cove/OPS
      Protesters were also out in Hong Kong.
      The Cove/OPS
      This is the original campaign video created for the first Empty the Tanks protests in 2013.



      i wonder...

      Jun 7, 2015 at 1:10pm many of these captivity protesters are also dog owners?

      Think about that next time you make Muffy has to shake a paw before given a treat, or take Fido to the local gravel pit known as a dogpark for a 10minute chance of "freedom". Hypocrisy sucks.

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      Ben Shakey

      Jun 7, 2015 at 2:43pm

      Aren't dogs domesticated to breeds and temperaments better suited to those conditions and behaviours while a beluga isn't?

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      Jun 7, 2015 at 3:52pm

      Empty the tanks vs Fill the minds!
      If a number people that are prevented from enjoying these creatures at the aquarium take a whale watching cruise in the natural habitat of these creatures they will cause far greater harm than than the aquarium ever could.

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      Ben Shakey

      Jun 7, 2015 at 4:29pm

      I'm not sure how whale watching would force any animals in a captive breeding program?

      The big complaint a whale tourism is usually about how the motors can be loud and bothersome but being trapped in concrete walls (which have questionable effects on echolocation) and having to listen to Uptown Funk at corporate staff parties must be comparable.

      There are some strange justifications on here.

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      Jun 7, 2015 at 5:14pm

      Dogs live on land, have been domesticated for thousands of years and most actively seek human affection. Have you ever seen a beluga jump out of the ocean and flop/follow a human home?


      Jun 7, 2015 at 5:15pm

      It is always better to see an animal in its Natural habitat (enviroment).., living life the way nature intended. If they want to help strays., injured or abandoned pups there are Catch and Release programs for this Not Catch (save) & Keep for Profit programs.

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      Cariboo Dan

      Jun 7, 2015 at 5:32pm

      Took my son to the aquarium twice a year while he was growing up. Today, he's teaching science in public secondary school and doing a lot more to advance the progress of the earth than this simple-minded protestors. The Vancouver Aquarium is one of the very best aquatic science centres in the world, and it deserves everyone's support.

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      Jun 7, 2015 at 6:02pm

      Any justification you can conjure up for keeping whales in captivity relies on the assumption that the benefits can't be had by some other, more humane means.

      At the very least, there should be a breeding ban, and a rescue-only policy.

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      Jun 7, 2015 at 7:56pm

      I would be weary of a 'rescue-only' policy. The aquarium says that they rescue which I have no doubt that they do (though this does not excuse the cruelty they partake in) but they don't put in the effort to rehabilitate and return to the wild as this wouldn't bring in money. It's far more profitable for them to train whales to do tricks for the audience. Also, it is common for Japanese fisherman to injure and then capture cetaceans in order for them to be considered 'rescued' before shipping them off for entertainment further west.

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      Adam from the north

      Jun 7, 2015 at 10:04pm

      I suppose we could release all the whales from their pens, then we could be like Japan and open up whaling again for scientific purposes, I'm sure that is a much better solution.

      Honestly its better to have aquariums like ours open, it gives our youth a new respect for wild life i am a fan on Conservationism not protectionism, its better that we can see, learn, experience, and have an understanding of what our oceans hold.

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