"We thank the federal government and all those involved in the passage of Bill S-203, so that our laws can finally align with the Canadian peoples' values and end this cruel practice". Today, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favour of Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act.
"Canada is now one of 11 leading countries that have taken a progressive stand against the keeping and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment", with Costa Rica and Chile among the others, said Nina Devries, the spokeswoman for the animal rights group.
Canada's parliament on Monday approved a bill banning the capture and breeding of cetaceans such as whales and dolphins in a move hailed by animal rights activists.
According to local reports, Marineland, a themed amusement park and zoo in Niagara Falls, also opposed the bill saying it would devastate attendance and threaten conservation efforts at parks where these animals are on display.
"We have a moral obligation to phase out the capture and retention of animals for profit and entertainment", Bill sponsor Senator Wilfred Moore said, "Canadians are calling upon us to do better - and we have listened".
"This is such an important law because it bans breeding, making sure the whales and dolphins now kept in tiny tanks in Canada are the last generation to suffer", Melissa Matlow, campaign director for World Animal Protection Canada, said in a statement. There are exemptions for cetaceans now in captivity, as well as for rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
"We've known for some time now that cetaceans are a highly intelligent, social, deep-diving species whose needs simply can not be met in a tank", said Dubois. "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".
Bill S-203 was introduced by Senator Wilfred Moore in 2015, and then sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair.
After the resolution was announced supporters went out on social media and celebrated with the tag #EmptyTheTanks.