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Canada's Parliament has adopted legislation prohibiting whales, dolphins and guinea pigs from being reared or kept in captivity – a move greeted by animal rights activists.
Violations are punishable by fines of up to 200,000 Canadian dollars (about $ 150,000).
The bill contains some exceptions: Marine mammals already held are allowed to remain in captivity. And the animals can be stored during rehabilitation from injury or for licensed scientific research.
Animal rights activists, who have long argued for holding marine mammals and training them for entertainment, pose cruelty, celebrated the news, tweeted under hashtags #EmptyTheTanks and #FreeWilly.
Former Sen. Wilfred Moore of Nova Scotia, who in 2015 as Senator introduced the measure, known as the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, said in a statement from the Humane Society International / Canada phasing out the animals' captivity was a "moral obligation."
Canada's Senate passed the action last year and House of Commons voted to approve it on Monday. Legislation is now going through a process called royal consent before it can become law.
CBC reports that the measure "particularly affects Marineland, Niagara Falls [Ontario] amusement park and zoo considered the last Canadian park required to hold whales in captivity."
Marineland has about 61 whales, including "55 whale whales, five bottleless dolphins and an orca, according to CBC, referring to data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The park had originally opposed the ban and said it would damage the presence as well as the conservation effort. But in a statement on Monday, Marineland said its operations have evolved since its founding in the 1960s and that it would comply with the law.
The Vancouver Aquarium bowed to public resistance last year and said it would no longer hold dolphins and whales for display. At that time, it had a dolphin in captivity.
"The public told us that they believed the continued import and display of these intelligent and sociable mammals was unethical and incompatible with the growing public opinion, and we changed our statutes accordingly, "stated Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon in a statement.
In the United States, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, which has SeaWorld parks in California, Florida and Texas, announced in 2016 that it would stop the breeding of hunting bulls and shift focus to the rescue of marine mammals.
Three years earlier, the documentary Blackfish constituted a public scream over the treatment of the prisoners. The film documented the killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by an orca named Tilikum in 2010.
Nearly 60 orkasses are in captivity in parks and aquariums worldwide. "One-third of the world's catching orchestras are in the United States, and all but one of them lives in SeaWorld's three parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio," National Geographic reports. "
And while SeaWorld has shifted attention to other attractions, it has continued to put on dolphin shows, the disapproval of people for the ethical treatment of animals, a protracted critic.
SeaWorld's Vice President of Animal Health and Welfare, Hendrik Nollens, recently defended the exercise and said that the dolphins "are faster than us. They are stronger than us. "" They are responsible. They choose, "Nollens said. " They decide whether or not the interaction should take place. "