Canada Passes ‘Free Willy’ Bill Banning Whale And Dolphin Captivity

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Canada’s House of Commons has passed a bill which will make it illegal to hold a whale, dolphin or porpoise in captivity.

Bill S-203, known as the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act (also referred to as the ‘Free Willy’ bill, passed the third reading stage on Monday – three years after it was introduced.

According to CBC, the bill bans keeping and breeding the aquatic mammals and anyone caught doing so could end up with fines of up to CAD $200,000 (USD $150,000 / £118,000).

The new law will also restrict the importation and exportation of these animals – there will also be bans in place stopping them from being made to perform for entertainment purposes.

The Green Party of Canada celebrated in a statement Monday. “These intelligent, social mammals will now get to live where they belong – in the ocean,” the party said.

The Bill makes exceptions if the animals are rescues, in rehabilitation or licensed for scientific research, or when it’s in the animal’s best interests, according to CNN.

It is outlined 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.”

Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of Humane Society International/Canada stated: “The passage of Bill S-203 is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals and a victory for all Canadians.

“Whales and dolphins don’t belong in tanks, and the inherent suffering these highly social and intelligent animals endure in intensive confinement can no longer be tolerated.

“We congratulate the sponsors of this bill and the Canadian government for showing strong leadership in responding to public will and sound science on this critical issue.”

Featured Image Credit: PA

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