Vancouver Aquarium Breeding Ban Rescinded
By Laura Bridgeman
Campaign & Communications Specialist
International Marine Mammal Project
Earth Island Institute
It is a sad day for the future generations of cetaceans born and bred into captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium.
On November 24th, the Vision Vancouver Park Board voted against the ban that would see the end of the captive breeding program at the Vancouver Aquarium, instead setting up an oversight committee and holding more consultations on proposed changes to the breeding bylaw.
Citing the cruel conditions that captivity necessarily brings for cetaceans, such as belugas, orcas and dolphins, Park Board commissioners Constance Barnes and Sarah Blyth have been squarely on the side of cetaceans from day one.
During the Vision board's last meeting, Blyth forwarded a motion to suspend Park Board rules and table a bylaw to prohibit the breeding of cetaceans in parks. The motion failed to pass in a four-to-three vote.
“Democracy is not being served,” Blyth said in response to the vote.
More disappointment comes from Vanaquafacts, who organized grassroots support of the ban. They posted the following statement on their Facebook page in response to the outcome:
As promised, Park Board Chair killed Vancouver's cetacean bylaw by proxy tonight, and then gave an impassioned speech that fooled no one, about how he "stands by it". It is hardly standing by the bylaw by punting it to a Park Board led by a former VP of the Vancouver Aquarium, a recent ex-employee of the Vancouver Aquarium and a commissioner who only months ago declared a conflict of interest with the Vancouver Aquarium due to business dealings. All in all, a cowardly, deceitful display.
Sarah Blyth and Constance Barnes on the other hand, went where few Vancouver politicians have dared to go - they stood up to the aquarium and their party. Both gave clear, reasoned arguments that demonstrated not only that there is a total lack of transparency and accountability at the Aquarium, but also showed that Aquarium/NPA messaging that they are acting on pure emotion to be pure politicking.
What was accomplished tonight? We learned the same lesson that we have learned for 20 years -- Park Board is clearly incapable of bringing any kind of public accountability to Vancouver Aquarium.
You can watch a livestreamed recorded meeting here, and sign this petition to tell the Park Board you think they made a grave mistake.