On March 9, the Vancouver Parks Board made a decisive move and voted unanimously to draft an amendment that will prohibit the Vancouver Aquarium from displaying cetaceans in captivity. The Parks Board commissioners will soon vote on approving the measure that will effectively stop the aquarium from bringing in cetaceans for exhibition and entertainment, while also preventing the import of five beluga whales that it currently has loaned out on abusive "breeding loan" deals with SeaWorld and other commercial facilities. The commissioners deserve your thanks and require encouragement not to change their minds before the final vote, which will be sometime before May 15.
Whale and dolphin advocates have campaigned to end captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium for two decades. The deaths of 21-year-old Qila and her 30-year-old mother Aurora in November 2016 provided the opportunity for anti-captivity advocates to make another appeal to the Parks Board, which oversees the Aquarium’s lease on Stanley Park land. In a public hearing held on March 9 and 10 to hear four options from its staff regarding captivity, the board quickly decided to choose one that is designed to see the end of cetacean captivity altogether.
Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon moved that the following amendment to its bylaws be drafted:
"The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation directs staff to prepare and bring forward for enactment by the Board an amendment to the Parks Control By-law to prohibit the importation and display of live cetaceans in Vancouver parks and report back not later than 15 May 2017."
One-by-one, the commissioners, some of whom have been captivity proponents in the past, voted and gave their own reasons after listening to Mackinnon stating in part, "Commissioners, the time to act is now. The Aquarium has no intention of listening to us or listening to the voters. They have no intention of ending captivity for cetaceans themselves. Therefore, we must do it here and now. ...The fate of these creatures is in our hands."
As active supporters of In Defense of Animals, many of you had contacted the commissioners over the past few months at our request to implore the Parks Board to end cetacean captivity. In concert with other organizations and many other people, your efforts have made a difference. Now it's time to thank the commissioners who may again face a lawsuit from Vancouver Aquarium. Ask them to stay the course and follow through on their vote when they meet again May 15.
Submit our letter below to thank them for their unanimous vote.
(Valid street address is required - P.O. Boxes cannot be used*)
Thank You for Unanimous Vote to Draft Amendment Prohibiting Cetacean Display
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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