Ontario Says No to More Orcas in Captivity

Ontario has become the first province in Canada to ban the breeding, purchase and sale of orcas. The new law, titled the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, passed the legislature at the end of May. It also requires qualified veterinarians with marine mammal expertise to oversee preventive and clinical care at any facility that has marine mammals.

Although there is only one such facility displaying an orca in Ontario—Marineland, in Niagara Falls—it is apparently more than enough to force legislative change. A lengthy exposé of the deplorable animal welfare conditions at that park by the Toronto Star in the summer of 2012 (see Winter 2013 AWI Quarterly) helped build momentum for the law. Unfortunately, Kiska, the solitary orca who for nearly four decades has occupied a concrete tank at Marineland, will remain there; she was excluded from the law’s provisions. The law will, however, prevent her sad story from being repeated in Ontario.