Whales, marine animals to get new protection in Ontario

Published On January 27, 2015 | By Erian De Los Reyes | News, Sci/Tech
The Ontario government will enhance standard of care for marine mammals in captivity, including a ban on acquisition and sale of killer whales. (Photo by Scott Kinmartin / cc Flickr).

The Ontario government will enhance standard of care for marine mammals in captivity, including a ban on acquisition and sale of killer whales. (Photo by Scott Kinmartin / cc Flickr).

By Katherine George

The Ontario government said on Tuesday they are introducing a number of tough new rules to protect marine mammals in captivity, including a ban on the breeding and sale of killer whales.

“Our government is moving forward with stronger protections for marine mammals to ensure these unique animals receive the best possible treatment and care,” said Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services in a news release.

There will be new regulations on things such as pool size for housing marine mammals, social groupings, specific environmental considerations, such as bacteria content, noise and lighting as well as proper handling, display and performance of marine mammals.

There will also be a new law to ban future breeding and sale of killer whales in Ontario.

Expert advice

A spokesman for Naqvi said a wide variety of experts will be consulted on the new rules.

“We’ve developed a technical advisory group with veterinarians, enforcement like OSPCA, industry and advocacy groups. These people will give advice on what the final standards will be,” Jonathan Rose, Director of Communications for the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services said.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told Humber News on Tuesday that it supports the government’s efforts.

The group’s marketing director said it is pleased to see the government working to improve Animal Welfare across the province.

“We will continue to work with the provincial government to enforce the laws and regulations set by the government under the OSPCA Act,” Alison Cross said.

The new standards come out of a report done by a team of scientists led by David Rosen, a University of British Columbia marine biologist.

Madeleine Meilleur, Naqvi’s predecessor, requested Rosen’s help in 2013.

Aims to create registry of zoos

Another part of Meilleur’s plan was donating $5.5 million to the OSCPA which helped establish a registry that every zoo and aquarium in Ontario will now be registered to, Rose said.

“The new volunteer registry of the province’s 62 zoos and aquariums will be completed by March 2015, and we are pleased to announce that 35 have signed up so far,” Cross said.

Naqvi wants to collect advice on the best standards and have them proclaimed in six months, Rose said.

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