Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Free Daisy, group urges Vancouver Aquarium

March 2, 2009 Kent Spencer, The Province

A miracle porpoise called Daisy, who has improved dramatically since being rescued last summer, needs to be returned to the wild, says an animal rights group.

“It’s time the Vancouver Aquarium moved her to a sea pen for a proper rehabilitation program,” said Peter Hamilton, founding director of Lifeforce, yesterday. “I’m concerned that the aquarium will not return her to the wild. It looks more like they’re training her to perform tricks,” he said.

The harbour porpoise has been held in a small pool at the aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver since being picked up from Gonzales beach in Victoria last August.

In December, Daisy had doubled her weight and was eating whole fish.  But she had become imprinted on humans and officials said it was not clear if she could be released into the wild.

A Free-Daisy slide show has been posted on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-px2wHxDt8

Give Daisy a chance 

March 3, 2009 By Kent Spencer, The Province

Free Willy, a popular 1993 film, was the story about attempts to return a captive orca whale to the wild. In Vancouver yesterday, animal-rights activist Peter Hamilton started a campaign to free Daisy, a harbour porpoise found last summer on a Victoria beach. 

Daisy is being nursed back to health at the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre on Vancouver's harbour front, but officials say she will likely never return to the ocean. Hamilton disagrees. 

"She has gone through a terrible ordeal; she should be given a chance at freedom," said Hamilton, founding director of Lifeforce, an animal-rights organization. "It's cruel and inhumane keeping her in a four-foot-high pool," he said. 

Aquarium vice-president Clint Wright said Daisy wouldn't know how to hunt for food, avoid predators or find friends in the wild. "She is not considered a suitable candidate for release," said Wright. "If she'd been older, she would have been a good candidate." 

Hamilton said Daisy should be taken to a sea pen, given live fish and eventually let go. The decision on Daisy' will ultimately be made by the Fisheries Department.  

Life in a concrete pool serves no porpoise

March 5, 2009 The Province 

From all that I've read on Daisy, and on porpoises in general, I think that her rehabilitation has progressed enough to have her released into the wild.

Porpoises are highly intelligent and social beings who belong with their own kind. I don't see that incarcerating her for life inside a small concrete pool serves her best interests.

All efforts should be made to have her reintroduced to the native waters where she belongs.

Isn't that the goal of wildlife rehabilitation?

Carmina Gooch, North Vancouver (update: Sadly, Daisy passed away on June 16, 2017)

The Dolphin Dealer: Ex-Vancouver Aquarium employee traps and sells dolphins world-wide

This documentary video was on CBC June 27, 2009  

Five years in the making and featuring unprecedented footage of the shadowy world of the wild dolphin trade, The Dolphin Dealer is a haunting new documentary about the man who perpetrated the largest dolphin capture and export in history. This rare story revolves around Canadian Christopher Porter, a former dolphin trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium, and his lead adversary, animal rights activist and former Flipper trainer, Ric O'Barry. Set in the Solomon Islands, the most beautiful yet most brutal nation in the South Pacific, The Dolphin Dealer examines the issues and ethics of the billion dollar swim-with-dolphins industry.

Selling wild dolphins for about $100,000 a head can earn Christopher Porter and his American partners a tidy profit. Although he's been called a hostile pig and a white poacher, Porter is convinced there's nothing wrong with what he does and is a firm believer that aquariums and marine parks give people the opportunity to encounter animals in an affordable setting and in a way they can relate to.

For O'Barry and other activists trying to shut Porter down, the trafficking of wild dolphins is simply an inhuman, money-making scam. Although tourists enjoy the experience of swimming with dolphins, many animals die during the export from the wild or spend the rest of their lives performing tricks in pens. According to O'Barry, for an intelligent animal like the dolphin, this amounts to prostitution.

Porter counters with the fact that by selling dolphins to marine parks, not only does he help humans and animals bond, he's also transforming attitudes in the Solomon Islands where dolphins are slaughtered by the thousands in traditional dolphin hunts, their teeth used to buy a bride. Now many islanders no longer kill them, preferring instead to capture dolphins live and sell them to foreigners.

Through exclusive access to Christopher Porter, The Dolphin Dealer gives viewers an inside look at Porter's biggest dolphin deal ever. With footage from Canada, Mexico, Dubai and the Solomon Islands - a country whose history has been marked by cannibalism, years of tribal conflict and beheadings in the market square - this story shocks, entertains and poses important questions about how humans treat dolphins, one of nature's most intelligent and charismatic animals.

Hold citywide vote on whales in captivity, Vancouver park commissioner suggests 

By Carlito Pablo straight.com July 13, 2010

Vancouver residents may get a chance next year to vote on a divisive issue. The question boils down to this: Is it right to keep cetaceans, such as whales and dolphins, in captivity?

Green park commissioner Stuart Mackinnon is bringing forward a motion to a meeting of the Vancouver park board on Monday (July 19) suggesting a plebiscite on the matter.

In a phone interview, Mackinnon said that the plebiscite would ask the public if it is in favour of phasing out cetacean exhibits and banning the future containment of these marine mammals on land leased by the Vancouver park board. The commissioner is recommending that the non-binding vote take place during the next civic election in November 2011.

Mackinnon recalled to the Straight that in a special meeting on November 27, 2006, the board passed a motion to review the bylaw relating to cetaceans in 2015. “If the park is going to reevaluate the bylaw in 2015, it would be a good idea to find out what the people feel about it,” Mackinnon said.

The death last month of Nala, a one-year-old baby beluga, at the Vancouver Aquarium has revived questions about the wisdom of keeping captive dolphins and whales for public display. Nala died in the evening of June 21. Her airway was found blocked by a couple of rocks and a penny.

Comment: Times have changed. People don’t want to see animals used and abused for ‘entertainment.’ Whether it’s the Calgary Stampede or the Vancouver Aquarium, citizens are speaking out loud and clear - put an end to such inhumane and outdated exploitation. Capitalizing off cruelty is over! 

August 31, 2020 The Vancouver Aquarium has announced it is pausing all public programming and closing its doors to the public as of Sept. 8 in order to transition to a new model of operation. https://globalnews.ca/news/7307821/vancouver-aquarium-closing/

April 08 2014 End whale and dolphin captivity at Vancouver Aquarium

November 25, 2016 Aurora, the Vancouver Aquarium's last beluga whale, dead at 30

Read more on our Animal Exploitation  & Animal Rights pages

Blackfish documentary http://blackfishmovie.com/