Senator Wilfred Moore: Vancouver Aquarium wrong on whales in captivity

Why it's time for the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act

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      This month, a three-week-old beluga calf fathered by one of the Vancouver Aquarium’s whales, Imaq, died at SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas. The Vancouver Aquarium currently has six beluga whales on loan to American marine parks for captive breeding purposes. A seventh Vancouver-owned whale, Nanuq, died a violent death in February of a broken jaw at Orlando SeaWorld. 

      Incidents like these are why I believe that it is time to phase out the keeping of whales, dolphins, and porpoises in captivity in Canada. It is a moral issue. That is why in June, I introduced Bill S-230, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act. The bill would impose a federal ban on captive breeding, imports, exports, and live captures of these highly intelligent, emotional, and social creatures. However, S-230 allows for the rescue and rehabilitation of whales and dolphins found in distress (such as Chester, the Vancouver Aquarium’s false killer whale). In addition, research can continue on individuals who cannot be returned to the wild, as well as on whales and dolphins already in captivity.

      John Nightingale, CEO of the Vancouver Aquarium, has publically opposed the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, claiming that it will eliminate the facility’s rescue, rehabilitation, and research efforts. This claim is false. However, the bill will end the Vancouver Aquarium’s captive breeding program with U.S. marine entertainment parks, which Dr. Jane Goodall has rightly condemned as serving no scientific purpose. The bill will also end the captive breeding program at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

      Following the recent death of the beluga calf at SeaWorld, I would challenge Nightingale to explain, in specific terms, the scientific purpose of breeding beluga whales at American entertainment facilities, whose purpose is to generate a profit. I further challenge Nightingale to explain why legitimate research objectives cannot be fulfilled using rescued individuals and currently captive whales and dolphins.  

      If you support the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, please contact federal political parties, candidates, and parliamentarians and ask them to adopt the bill as policy going into the fall election. Together, we can do the right thing. 



      Tod Helmutson

      Jul 20, 2015 at 3:43pm

      What is this commentary even in response too? At the very least the Georgia Straight could publish the original commentary piece that Moore is referring to that was authored by Nightingale.

      Also attempting to make this an election issue on a federal level is even more asinine then when Vision did it on the municipal level.

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      Barry William Teske

      Jul 20, 2015 at 5:31pm

      But not wrong about the profits for 'owners' of these sentient beings.
      Slavery has not ended.
      Just shifted focus so that the 'net' income is more palatable.

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      Jul 20, 2015 at 6:47pm

      Too bad this comes from the Senate. Canadians must reject everything that comes from the Senate. Wilfred Moore should resign from the Senate and join Greenpeace if he wants to save the whales. What's more important to you, Wilfred Moore, drawing a paycheque off the backs of taxpayers or working FOR FREE as an environmentalist? Thought so...

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      Barry William Teske

      Jul 20, 2015 at 8:55pm

      You sort of had a point until you used a false equivalence in your attempt at a validation of it.
      Humanities cruelty towards lesser thought of species is highly profitable at the cost of whose soul exactly?
      Maybe the Senator has had a reckoning with his higher power and is taking the first steps.
      Hope can only benefit from such an awareness.
      Think again?

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      Teresa Wagner

      Jul 21, 2015 at 7:41am

      Thank you Senator Moore! Someone has to be a voice for these captive animals. . . and get them out of there.

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      Jul 21, 2015 at 8:07am

      I fully support an end to captive cetaceans for profit or entertainment purposes. A tank simply cannot and will never be a suitable replacement for their natural habitat. The only cetaceans that should be in captivity are those that cannot possibly survive on their own in the wild due to injury and those animals should not be turned into circus sideshows for a paying public. All others should be rehabbed and released.

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      Martin Dunphy

      Jul 21, 2015 at 6:42pm


      There is no original commentary to publish. He is just referencing some of Nightingale's public statements.

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      Jul 25, 2015 at 5:15pm

      CRUEL AUSTRALIAN SEAWORLD - Many thousands are speaking up for the captive performing dolphins at Sea World Gold Coast Australia with the help of international and local celebrities but we also need your help, and voice.

      Jane Goodall says "SeaWorld Needs To Be Immediately Shut Down"

      Harry Styles, Bianca Jagger, Martina Navratilova, Anthony La Paglia, Simon Cowell, Shailene Woodley, Pamela Anderson, Olivia Newton John, Ricky Gervais, Edie Falco, Steve Backshall, Bryan Adams, Matt Damon, Matthew Modine, Susan Sarandon, Kelly Slater, Willy Nelson, Cher,Rachel Hunter, Tommy Lee, Jennifer Aniston, Maggie Q, Nicholas Hoult, Stephen Fry, Jessica Chastain, Paul Rudd, Woody Harrelson, Rita Wilson, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, David Crosby, Courtney Cox, Dave Navarro, Wynonna Judd, Kathy Griffin, Jessica Biel, Mariska Hargitay, James Gandolfini, John Leguizamo, Russell Simmons, Olivia Wilde, Scout LaRue Willis, Kelly Le Brock, Russell Brand, Joan Jett, Howard Stern, Aaron Paul (from 'Breaking Bad'), Kathy Najimy, Niki Taylor, Hayden Panettiere, Mayim Bialik, Meg Matthews, Chet Faker, Wil Anderson, Todd McKenny, Christine Anu, Steve Kilbey, Marcia Hines, Sia, Tyson Beckford, Sinnitta, Ewan McGregor, Steve-O, Conan O'Brien, Elvira, Josh Groban, Jason Biggs, Motley Crue, Arianna Grande, Krysten Ritter, Chloe Lattanzi, Sharni Vinson, Samantha Fox, Alexandra Paul, Gina Liano, Jonathan Coleman, Alyce Platt, The Veronicas, Tracey Spicer, Adam Zwar, Lincoln Lewis, Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Anthony Ackroyd, Livinia Nixon, Jane Barnes, Former Miss Universe Australia Laura Dundovic, Havana Brown, Simone Buchanan, Cheyenne Tozzi, Caitlin Stasey, Silvana Philippoussis, Ella Hooper, Bianca Dye, Arj Barker, Annalise Braakensiek all say:


      "The whole world is up in arms about Sea World and other aquaprisons. It's time that Australians opened their eyes and became educated to the cruelty of trapping and breeding dolphins as money-making slaves for greedybusinesspeople".

      'SEAWORLD SHUT DOWN on Facebook. The First & Only Campaign Against Sea World in Australia' .

      Trevor Long, Marine Science Director at Sea World Gold Coast says: "Dolphins aren't some amazing creature, in the wild they just rape and rape and rape". (Quoted from

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