World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

November 29, 2006 10:58 ET

No More Whales in Stanley Park

International animal protection group joins battle against aquarium expansion

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor VANCOUVER, BC, NEWS RELEASE--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 29, 2006) - The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is joining local animal protection organizations calling on the Vancouver Park Board to vote against the aquarium expansion and hold a referendum.

The international organization is coming together with the Vancouver Humane Society, The Coalition for No Whales in Captivity, Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society (CMEPS), Zoocheck Canada, and Whale Friends at a news conference today to encourage the public to just say NO to aquarium expansion at the board meeting on Monday, November 27 at 5 pm.

"We're asking Vancouverites to just say NO to aquarium expansion, NO to bringing in more whales, and YES to a referendum," said Pat Tohill, WSPA Canada Campaigns Manager. "We're confident if asked a straight question about the aquarium doubling its number of captive whales and dolphins, the citizens of Vancouver would JUST SAY NO."

"If the Park Board really cared what Vancouverites thought, it would hold a referendum instead of relying on a biased, expensive and skewed survey conducted by the aquarium," said Denis Howarth representing No Whales in Captivity. "We're urging people to come out and voice their thoughts on the expansion. By being heard, it will help the animals and maintain the beauty of Stanley Park."

"Ten years ago, we were promised a referendum on whether or not the aquarium should expand and last year we were promised a referendum on whether or not the aquarium would be allowed to bring in more whales," charged Rob Laidlaw, speaking on behalf of the Vancouver Humane Society and Zoocheck Canada. "All we want is what was promised."

"The Park Board needs to hold a referendum vote in the 2008 election to find out the true measure of Vancouverites want," added Whale Friends' Janos Maté.

The problem with the survey and expansion plan is the aquarium hasn't been clear about its intention to double the number of captive whales and dolphins. Instead of being direct about this issue, the survey suggests the aquarium could bring in a recently injured or distress whale or dolphin. But not once in 50 years has the aquarium brought an injured whale or dolphin to Stanley Park for the purpose of rehabilitation.

The sample size was also too small. Only 600 people were surveyed out of the more than 2 million people who live in Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Plus, all the local animal welfare groups boycotted the aquarium's consultation process and survey.

Cetaceans species such as those kept by the aquarium are highly social, extremely cooperative, fast moving, deep-diving predators. But in captivity, they are forced to share tanks with animals from different family pods, and can't exercise their natural behaviours.

A report entitled The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity was released by WSPA earlier this year in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States. Copies of the report were sent to all Park Board members and can be found on the coalition's website www.nomorewhales.ca.

Contact:

Celecia Partap, Media Relations Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals
Cell: (416) 526-4743

Pat Tohill, Campaigns Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals
Cell: (416) 898-9448

Rob Laidlaw, Vancouver Humane Society, Zoocheck Canada
Cell: 416-553-6801 Office: 416-285-1744

Denis Howarth, No Whales in Captivity
Cell: 604-939-7508

Erika Ceballos, Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society
Cell: 604-515-8202

Janos Maté, Whale Friends
Cell: 604-327-0943 Office: 604-828-0687
/For further information: www.wspa.ca
www.nomorewhales.ca/ IN: ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES, INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Celecia Partap, Media Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
    Primary Phone: 416-526-4743
    Secondary Phone: 416-369-0044 ext. 106
    Toll-Free: 800-363-9772
    E-mail: partap@wspa.ca