Legislation Passes to Increase Oversight and Protection for Marine Mammals
Province Ending Acquisition and Breeding of Killer Whales
Today the province passed the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Act, which will prohibit the acquisition and breeding of orcas (killer whales) in Ontario effective immediately.
To ensure the province continues to have the strongest animal protection legislation in Canada, the bill contains a number of other measures to improve the oversight and well-being of all marine mammals in Ontario. This includes:
- Rules that allow the government to require animal welfare committees at any facility that houses marine mammals
- Rules that allow the government to require facilities that house marine mammals to have qualified veterinarians with expertise in marine mammal medicine to oversee preventive and clinical care
- Penalties of up to $60,000 and/or two years in prison on first conviction for breaches of the Act
The province is also working on setting specific standards of care for marine mammals which will reflect advice from an expert report by Dr. David Rosen, a University of British Columbia marine biologist, and recommendations from a technical advisory group. When introduced, Ontario will be the first jurisdiction in Canada to set specific standards of care for marine mammals.
The amendments complete a three-point plan initiated in October 2012 to strengthen protection for all animals.
- Ontario provides the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) with $5.5 million annually to strengthen the protection of animals.
“Our government is committed to making sure marine mammals, and all animals in Ontario, are protected and receive the best possible treatment and care. Prohibiting the acquisition and breeding of orcas as we move forward on enhancing our standards of care to be among the best in the world is something Ontarians expect and these animals deserve. These amendments build on our government’s ongoing efforts to have the strongest animal protection laws in Canada.”