Canada passes bill banning cetaceans in captivity

Canada’s House of Commons passed the ‘Free Willy’ bill, which makes it illegal to keep or breed a dolphin, porpoise or whale in captivity, on Monday 10 June.

According to CNN, keeping cetaceans in captivity will be punishable by up to $150,000 (R2,216,782). The bill, which is expected to become law, was first introduced to the Senate in December 2015.

The ‘Free Willy’ bill is also known as ‘The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act’, according to The Washington Post.

Exceptions to the bill will include if the animal has been rescued, if the animal is injured or in distress and needs human intervention/assistance, if the animal is in rehabilitation, if it is licensed for scientific research, or if keeping the animal in captivity is for its best interest.

The bill states that ‘a person may move a live cetacean from its immediate vicinity when the cetacean is injured or in distress and is in need of assistance.’

Many animal welfare organisations are celebrating this historic decision. ‘The passage of Bill S-203 is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals and a victory for all Canadians,’ the executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, Rebecca Aldworth, said in a statement.

 

Image: Unsplash

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