Bill S-203, ending the captivity of whales and dolphins
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Cetaceans in captivity

killer whales breaching

 Bill S-203 passed to law, keeping whales and dolphins in their ocean homes

Bill S-203 ensures the only cetaceans in captivity are those that are being rehabilitated or are currently unable to be released. The bill maintains pre-existing Indigenous rights and is supported by the Coastal First Nations. It prevents captive breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises and ensures no whales are brought into captivity in Canada from international waters.

Science indicates keeping cetaceans captive is cruel because of their characteristics and needs, including high-level intelligence, emotions, sociability, acoustic-sensitivity and roaming lifestyles. In captivity, cetaceans suffer from confinement, isolation, health problems, reduced lifespans, high infant mortality rates and sensory deprivation.

Bill S-203 was passed on June 10, 2019 to end the captivity of whales and dolphins. We are celebrating by thanking our MPs for supporting this bill and ensuring it passed!

Cetaceans suffer in confinement and should not be held captive for our entertainment. To learn more, read the BC SPCA’s position statement on marine mammal welfare.

C-68 is a bill under review, also valuable for animal well-being, that addresses a number of changes in the Fisheries and Oceans Act. However, it does not prevent cetaceans from being captured in international waters and imported into Canada. It also does not prevent cetaceans from being bred. Review a comparison of C-68 and S-203 (PDF).  S-203 ensures full protection for cetaceans.