The most prominent animal rights organizations posted celebratory articles when Vancouver’s Park Board destroyed the Aquarium’s cetacean program. Not one of them reported on the Trans Mountain tar sands project, and the nightmare it promises to be for one of the most endangered groups of orcas in the world.
The Canadian government has failed to protect their cetaceans, both last week and last November. They put the interests of a vocal, unscientific minority over the expertise of one of the world’s most prominent and Canada’s only marine mammal rescue facility, after failing to prioritize their slowly dying Southern Residents over profits from an oil pipeline.
Conservation cannot be an issue of convenience. The embattled zoological community is actively engaged in the well being of marine mammals, both free ranging and in human care. While animal rights folks cheered at the dismantling of the Vancouver Aquarium, the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association raised over $15,000 in the interests of the critically endangered Vaquita porpoises, who like the Southern Residents, are vanishing before our eyes. It is both outrageous and morally unjustifiable to see the millions of dollars funneled into advertising and endorsing animal rights causes that euthanize their charges (PETA – who celebrated the new Vancouver bylaw, has killed a staggering 34,970 pets since 1998) and purchase signs to stand outside SeaWorld and VanAqua, while wild populations of marine mammals slowly suffer, starve and die.
The pattern must change. The governmental bodies wielding power over wildlife, both zoological and wild, must bow to science, not sensation, or both the tanks and the seas around us will be empty.
- Vancouver Park Board’s official statement on the cetacean ban bylaw:
- Stuart Mackinnon’s Vancouver Courier op-ed:
- Mackinnon’s statement on VanAqua rescues:
- Raincoast Conservation statement on Tar Sands pipeline and the Southern Residents:
- Center for Biological Diversity’s statement on Tar Sands pipeline and the Southern Residents:
- International Marine Animal Trainer’s Vaquita fundraiser:
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal’s statement on cetacean ban:
- PETA euthanasia numbers: