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Whales-in-captivity meeting to hear from 130 people Saturday

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – An entire day has been set aside for Vancouver park board commissioners Saturday to hear from both sides on the whales-in-captivity debate.

Some 130 speakers have signed up to address the park board, and there will be a second meeting if time runs out to hear them.

A park board commissioner who has already made up her mind on the issue says she’s hoping to come away with some answers to key questions.

Constance Barnes, who won’t be running for another term, has come out against whales and dolphins kept in aquariums but she wonders about other whales linked to the Vancouver Aquarium. She’s looking forward to the presentation the aquarium will make at the meeting.

“My questions are very much around breeding and trading whales. Seven other belugas owned by the aquarium that are at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. How are they overseeing how these other animals are being treated?”

She says there is overwhelming demand to have the Vancouver Aquarium phase out its current practice to keep whales that have been rescued.

“About 16,000 people have signed a petition. When you are getting a thousand emails a day from people asking that you to phase out cetaceans in captivity, it’s my job to listen to that  and make sure people are being heard.”

The park board is having to revisit the whales in captivity debate, as the aquarium’s lease expires next year.