This past week the Vancouver Sun newspaper held a poll asking, “Should the Vancouver Aquarium still keep cetaceans in captivity?” There was an overwhelming response from 95,254 people with 66,813 voting against captivity. The 70% vote against cetacean captivity is a victory for freedom.
In only 2 weeks over 500 people signed the End Cetacean Captivity at Vancouver Aquarium Petition. In addition there has been world wide support for the City of Vancouver to finally end the captivity of cetaceans.
At the Nov. 28 meeting the following motion was passed:
NOTICE OF MOTIONS
1. Cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium
Commissioner Kirby-Yung gave notice of motion on the following:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Vancouver Park Board:
A. Support inclusion of an assent question on the 2018 Municipal Election ballot to determine if Vancouver residents support keeping cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre;
B. Request the City of Vancouver to add such an assent (plebiscite) question to the 2018 Municipal Election ballot per section 130 of the Vancouver Charter; and
C. Write to the Vancouver Aquarium asking it consider not bringing cetaceans into the facility until after the results of the 2018 plebiscite are received.
It was also reported that at the Dec. 12 meeting:
THAT the Board will go into a meeting on December 12, 2016, which is closed to the public, pursuant to Section 165.2(1) of the Vancouver Charter, to discuss matters related to paragraph(s):
(g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the City or Park Board;
(l) negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of an activity, work or facility that are at their preliminary stages …
Lifeforce is urging the Vancouver Park Board to:
- Amend the Cetacean Bylaw to phase out Cetaceans.
Do not wait until 2018 for a referendum because the Aquarium plans include more pools and more cetaceans in 2017. Then a referendum would be too late with new prisons perpetuating cetacean captivity for decades. Lifeforce is urging the Parks Board and the City to implement a Cetacean Bylaw that will phase out cetacean captivity now.
We hope that the closed meeting on Dec. 12 will discuss any legal threats by the Vancouver Aquarium that addresses the Cetacean Bylaw. As stated under the Vancouver Charter the Board has complete jurisdiction to implement bylaws that restricts animals in parks. The Vancouver Aquarium has also stated on many occasions that they were the first to agree to the bylaw and no more captures from the wild.
2. A New Expansion Permit and Public Comment Period
It was a 2006 Vancouver Aquarium expansion plan that was approved for completion in 2010. This plan was not implemented due to lack of funding. That eight-part expansion was the largest in history nearly doubling the size. The 10-year-old expansion permit should be cancelled and the Vancouver Aquarium should apply for an updated permit that would allow for a public comment period. Since 2006, new species have been acquired, new species may be imported, and there are new business plans such as aquaculture for the sushi market and operating an aquarium in Spain.
We hope that the closed meeting on Dec. 12 will discuss the Aquarium facility expansion that was not completed in 2010.