Canada has passed the landmark ‘Free Willy’ bill, S-203, that makes it illegal to keep cetaceans such as dolphins, whales, or porpoises in captivity. Officially called the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, the bill is colloquially named after the iconic movie of the same name released in 1993, where a boy frees a whale from an amusement park in the United States.
According to the bill, such acts will attract a fine of $150,000 USD. The bill also seeks to prohibit the import and export of these animals.
This bill was proposed in 2015 first and is awaiting a symbolic royal approval.
Hugely supported by animal rights activists, this bill will exempt marine mammals that are in rehabilitation, rescue or are licensed for scientific research.
Many advocates of the bill took to social media to celebrate the bill and #emptythetanks was trending.
Humane Canada, an organization that supports humane treatment of all animals, shared a message which read: “Nothing fantastic ever happens in a hurry. But today we celebrate that we have ended the captivity and breeding of whales and dolphins.”
Nothing fantastic ever happens in a hurry. But today we celebrate that we have ended the captivity and breeding of whales and dolphins. This is news to splash a fin at. #bills203 #emptythetanks #cdnpoli Thank you everyone. pic.twitter.com/7j49YkEmpy
— Humane Canada (@HumaneCanada) June 10, 2019
Also, the Toronto Humane Society put up an ecstatic message on Twitter.
#BillS203 is officially a LAW in Canada!
— Toronto Humane Soc. (@THS_tweet) June 10, 2019
At present, only two places in Canada have cetaceans in captivity: Marineland in Niagra Falls and the Vancouver Aquarium.
In recent years, there has been a massive backlash against keeping such animals in captivity.
What do you think of this bill? Should other nations follow the same? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.