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Report suggests ending captivity program hurts research

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s another wrinkle in the debate on banning whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium.

The Vancouver Park Board  has released a the report which was conducted by vets and scientists at the University of California. The report suggests research would suffer if the mammals are removed from the Vancouver Aquarium.

The report comes just as the non-profit organization and the park board are set to have an open discussion on the issue on Saturday.

Park Board Commissioner Aaron Jasper says it’s a good report but is still cautious. “It’s very neutral in its assessment of the ethics but really delves into different aspects of the operation. It’s a good first step, and what has been relayed to me from senior staff is that they can see definitely a need to do some further investigation on certain aspects of the aquarium’s operations.”

He says he “wrestles with the ethics of keeping whales in captivity” and will look into the report further before Saturday’s meeting. He encourages everyone on both sides of the debate to do the same.

The report says the aquarium has pioneered emergency care for wild cetaceans that have been stranded. The study concludes if the cetacean captivity program ended, the aquarium wouldn’t be able to apply research learned from captive whales and dolphins to wild populations.
Park board commissioner Constance Barnes and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson are in favour of the aquarium phasing out its cetacean program.