NEWS

Vancouver Aquarium whales program debate continues at Park Board

07/28/2014 01:00 EDT | Updated 09/27/2014 05:59 EDT
About 80 members of the public are expected to voice their thoughts on the Vancouver Aquarium's controversial captive whales and dolphins program Monday evening, at a special meeting convened by the Vancouver Park Board.

"We expect a lot of folks are going to share their thoughts just on the bigger issues of whether or not it's appropriate or not to keep cetaceans in captivity," said Park Board chair Arron Jasper.

On Saturday, after the board released the results of an independent study of the programs, 48 members of the public were allowed to speak for three minutes each on the issue.

Many speakers were convinced that putting cetaceans in glass tanks is outdated and cruel, and while others asserted that studying the animals in captivity is critical to their survival.

The aquarium is licensed by the Vancouver Park Board.  Current policy is not to capture mammals for captivity, but to breed cetaceans are already in the aquarium's care. Rescued marine mammals considered unfit to be released back into the wild are also cared for on site.

The Park Board has not said when a decision will be made on the issue, but Jasper says all options are being considered.

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