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Demonstrators rally against Vancouver Aquarium receiving federal funding

Last Updated Jul 4, 2020 at 11:28 pm PDT

(Courtesy Isabelle Raghem @IsabelleRaghem)

Members of No Whales in Captivity gathered in front of the Vancouver Aquarium Saturday

The group protested a federal bailout given to the facility, and asked it to stop captivity unrelated to direct rescue

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Demonstrators gathered outside the Vancouver Aquarium Saturday protesting the $2-million federal funding given amid the pandemic, and demanding it stop keeping animals in captivity unless those animals have been rescued.

CityNews reporter Isabelle Raghem was on the scene and says about a dozen people showed up.

The group called No Whales in Captivity organized the event and says it is concerned that taxpayer money was used to bail out the aquarium. The group says it’s unfair to help an organization that should be a sanctuary.

“We demand management and leaders of Ocean Wise divest from captivity unrelated to direct rescue — including their ongoing interests in breeding — and earning money from Cetaceans around the world. We demand they take a public stance declaring a truly compassionate focus, and work on the very real problems created by CAZA-led model of exploitation. We demand that they stop using taxpayer funds to continue the irrelevant and harmful practice of captivity,” the event page reads on Facebook.

CAZA provides accreditation to zoos and aquariums in Canada.

Raghem adds that demonstrators were peaceful and were able to get their message across to some people who intended to enter the aquarium.

“No one really argued with them or confronted them, there were actually a few guests who actually stopped instead of going in,” she says.

“I actually heard one lady say, ‘They’re right I don’t actually want to go in there’ and her and her two friends walked away and left. So it seems some people were actually listening to the message and decided to change their mind and didn’t actually go into the aquarium.”