Oh, the perils of defending animals. On Mar. 31, Ontario's Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Yasir Naqvi, introduced for second reading a bill that banned the procurement, breeding, or keeping of orcas in captivity anywhere in Ontario. The one orca who is currently held captive in the province (at Marineland, a tacky aquarium-amusement park in Niagara Falls, Ontario) is exempted. So far, so good ... except for Kiska, the lone - and lonely - captive killer whale in the province.
Naqvi's Liberal party has a majority government, so the bill passed second reading without trouble and will now go before committee, providing opportunity for public comment. What to do?
Professional animal protectionists know that a huge impediment to pro-animal legislation is the understandable concern of politicians that, no matter how they try, it is difficult to satisfy those of us who care about the welfare of animals. Don't we want orcas banned from captivity? Of course we do.
And, the bill goes further, providing for the creation of standards for the keeping of other cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses), and other marine mammals in captivity. Marineland is also thought to be the only facility housing other marine mammals for display purposes. Since there are no standards for how these animals are kept, it can be argued that any standards are better than none.