July 28, 2014 6:51 pm

‘Cove’ director and ‘Blackfish’ stars wade into Vancouver Aquarium debate

VANCOUVER – As the debate on keeping captive cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium heats up, a few more people are wading in.

Louie Psihoyos, the director of the film “The Cove”, and four former SeaWorld trainers featured in “Blackfish”, have sent letters to the Vancouver Park Board and Mayor Gregor Robertson urging them to phase out cetacean captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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Both “The Cove” and “Blackfish” are largely credited with the rapid rise of the worldwide movement to end the practice of keeping cetaceans in marine parks and aquariums.

Speaking on BC1, Psihoyos said he and the others sent the letters because they represent millions of people around the world who believe cetaceans do not belong in captivity.

“Some of the reasons to support the aquarium are because you can’t get information from these animals scientifically but all the information they can get from dolphins now can be gotten from dolphins in the wild,” said  Psihoyos. “We have enough information.”

He said these animals deserve to be free. “They’re sonic creatures, they’re put into a concrete tank and they’re forced to do tricks for human amusement,” added Psihoyos.

In the letter from the four former SeaWorld trainers, under the name Voice of the Orcas (VOTO), they said:

Life in captivity is a constant struggle for these intelligent, emotional and social animals, as evidenced time and again by significant health issues that lead to premature death. Health issues include depressed immune systems at least partly due to inadequate nutrition as well as stressors such as social strife/animal aggressions, and reduced room to move. The list is almost endless, but the main take-away should be that whales and dolphins simply do not thrive in captivity.

The aquarium currently holds two Arctic beluga whales and two Pacific white-sided dolphins and they want to expand the tanks for these animals next year.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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