BRITISH COLUMBIA

Vancouver Aquarium Whale And Dolphin Captivity Compared To Slavery (VIDEO, TWEETS)

08/01/2014 09:44 EDT | Updated 08/02/2014 01:59 EDT

A Vancouver Park Board commissioner is being criticized on social media for comparing to slavery.

Constance Barnes made the reference at a Thursday meeting where politicians restricted the Vancouver Aquarium from breeding whales, porpoises and dolphins, according to The Vancouver Courier.

"I look at this as people that are advocating for an animal that doesn’t have a voice," she said.

"And I know myself — and I am maybe walking a fine line here — but less than 100 years ago, my people were being bred, and less than 100 years ago, my people were being sold."

Some Twitter users mocked Barnes' remarks.

This isn't the first time Barnes has used strong language to oppose cetacean captivity at the aquarium.

Last April, she and park board vice-chair Sarah Blyth compared the practice to torture, according to Metro News.

Barnes also brought up slavery at that time, saying, "One hundred years ago we thought slavery was OK too ... It’s time to phase out whales and dolphins in captivity."

The park board amended a bylaw on Thursday to restrict any cetacean breeding with exceptions for threatened whale and dolphin species.

In a Friday blog post, aquarium president and CEO John Nightingale said the decision is "misinformed, misguided and pits the park board against the facts, the science and Mother Nature herself.

"For the park board to stop whales and dolphins from doing what comes naturally is like telling park board commissioners not to have sex, ever. It’s unnatural," he said.

Here's a transcript of Barnes' remarks, from a video posted by Global News:

"I look at this as people that are advocating for an animal that doesn’t have a voice. And I know myself, and I may be walking a fine line here, but less than 100 years ago, my people were being bred, and less than 100 years ago, my people were being sold. And we were being traded.

And there is no way in the world that there weren’t people that were fighting for my people that were told this, at the end of your career, you’re going to go down or whatever it may be, because it is emotional, but I am not in a position not to continue the fight, I am not in a position not to stand up for the whales that don’t have the voice.

I’m not in a position to be threatened, I’m not in a position, and if it does take me down then it does because it’s the right thing to do."

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