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Dozens to speak at part 2 of Vancouver Park Board meeting on whales, dolphins in captivity

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s round two in the major battle in which whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium are caught in the middle of.

Dozens of people are expected to come out tonight for part two of a special Vancouver Park Board meeting looking into whether the Aquarium should be allowed to continue to keep the mammals in captivity.

There are 130 speakers registered to have their say; over 80 still have yet to be heard from.

Those against the practice see holding the creatures captive as cruel and inhumane. Opponent Sue Waters says technology makes it unnecessary.

“We live in a digital era and they can have a really amazing facility with no captive animals at all. It would be much cheaper, and the money that they earn could be used for marine biologists to actually do work in the field,” she argues.

Supporters say this enables young people to develop a passion for the creatures.

Waters disagrees, saying our youth are being hurt from this practice. “I think that the way the world is hopefully going that they will look back on it and go ‘It sucks that I was part of that as a kid or I was brought into it.'”

Supporters also say it allows researchers to study the cetaceans in greater depth.

Speakers are asking the Vancouver Park Board to hold a referendum on the contentious issue. Earlier, the mayor and city council had voted against including it in November’s civic election.

The Vancouver Aquarium is set to start work on a $100-million upgrade, which would include a larger tank.