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Canada passes bill to ban whale, dolphin captivity

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-06-11 05:30
FILE PHOTO: The carcass of a right whale is prepared to be towed out to sea near Norway, Prince Edward Island, Canada June 28, 2017. Picture taken June 28, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

OTTAWA -- The House of Commons of Canada on Monday passed a new legislation which bans whale and dolphin captivity in the country.

The legislation, named the "Free Willy" bill by its proponents, marks a new era in animal rights law. For the first time, Canadians can be found guilty for possession of marine mammals, not just for poor treatment.

The bill will phase out the practice of keeping captive whales, dolphins and porpoises, but a clause of the bill that will allow marine institutions to keep mammals that were born or conceived before the legislation was passed.

Marineland in Niagara Falls and the Vancouver Aquarium in the country are the only institutions that host cetaceans, the scientific term for whales, dolphins and porpoises.

The bill also prohibits the import and export of marine mammals in Canada, except for scientific research or for the "best interest" of the mammal.

The bill was first introduced in the Senate in 2015 and eventually made its way into the House of Commons, where it had its third and final reading today.

The bill is one of four pieces of legislation that deals with the treatment of animals that is currently before the Canadian Parliament.

The House of Commons is reportedly looking to pass legislation that bans shark finning, sexual assault and all forms of animal fighting, and cosmetic testing on animals.

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