Canada bans the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment!


The passing of Bill S-203 is a major victory for animal welfare in Canada

A federal bill to ban the trade, breeding and display of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) for entertainment has just passed Third Reading in the House of Commons, and will become law.

Bill S-203 went through more than three years of significant debate, but science was on our side, and together we demonstrated that Canadians are against keeping these social, intelligent and vast roaming marine mammals in small, barren tanks for entertainment.

Together, our voice was loud, and backed by science. We made sure that every Member of Parliament had a copy of our Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity report on hand when they reviewed, debated and finally passed this important bill. Our latest report, published jointly with the Animal Welfare Institute, demonstrates the scientific and ethical arguments in support of banning cetacean captivity.

The passing of Bill S-203 will amend the Criminal Code (among other legislation) with fines up to $200,000 for breaking the law. This is a significant statement, reflecting the immense suffering cetaceans experience when kept in captivity for entertainment.

Melissa Matlow, our campaign director, says: "This is such an important law because it bans breeding, making sure the whales and dolphins currently kept in tiny tanks in Canada are the last generation to suffer. We hope other countries will now follow Canada's lead and that travel companies will also realize the declining acceptance for these types of attractions."

*Please note that Bill S-203 makes an exception for animals currently captive and those needing care or rehabilitation. This bill is to phase out the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises for the purpose of public display and entertainment.

Growing global movement to ban whale and dolphin cruelty

As scientific understanding of marine mammals grows, so does public opposition to keeping them in small, barren tanks.

Jurisdictions around the world are responding to the science by passing laws to ban or significantly restrict the captive display of marine mammals including Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, UK, and now Canada.

What’s next?

Email or call your MP and ask them how they voted. If your MP for voted in favour of Bill S-203 passing, please thank them! If they voted against the bill let them know you are aware of their vote and are very disappointed.

What else you can do

Through our Wildlife. Not Entertainers campaign, we are working to stamp out all cruel wildlife entertainment like dolphin shows and elephant rides.

Click here to learn more about our campaign, review our research and find out how you can help.

Further reading