Ontario Introduces Enhanced Standards of Care for Marine Mammals
New Requirements Posted for Public Comment
Ontario is inviting the public to provide input on new proposed standards of care for marine mammals - such as orcas (killer whales), dolphins, beluga whales, sea lions and walruses - that will better meet their unique needs and ensure their overall health and well-being.
Starting today until September 14, 2015, members of the public can visit the regulatory registry to comment on new standards for facilities that keep marine mammals in captivity. The proposed regulations include:
- Rules about water quality and water testing, nutrition, reproduction, handling and transportation, light and noise exposure and enclosures
- Requirements to establish animal welfare committees and detailed animal management plans
- Specifications about information management and records keeping
- Provisions for access to a veterinarian
- Mandatory post mortem examinations
Ontario is the first province to propose clear and enforceable standards of care for marine mammals. The province recently passed Bill 80, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Act, 2015, which immediately prohibited the acquisition and breeding of orcas.
This is the final part of the government's three-point plan to strengthen protection for all animals introduced in October 2012, which ensures that Ontario continues to have the strongest animal protection legislation in Canada.
- Ontario’s three-point plan to strengthen protection for all animals includes: new annual funding of $5.5 million for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; establishing a registry of Zoos and Aquariums; and reviewing and improving regulations to protect marine mammals in captivity.
- Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to prohibit breeding and acquisition of orcas.
- The enhanced standards reflect advice from an expert report commissioned by the Ontario government, led by Dr. David Rosen, a University of British Columbia marine biologist, as well as input from a Technical Advisory Group made up of veterinary, animal welfare, industry and enforcement organizations.
“Our government is moving forward to ensure the best possible care and treatment of marine mammals in the province. We have already ended the practice of breeding or acquiring orcas, and an enhanced standard of care for marine mammals is what Ontarians expect and these animals deserve. These new standards build on our government’s ongoing efforts to maintain Ontario’s track record of having the strongest animal protection laws in all of Canada.”