British Columbia·TOP STORIES 2014

Vancouver Aquarium whale and dolphin breeding causes controversy

Criticism of the aquarium's practice of breeding cetaceans in captivity by animal rights activists and municipal politicians prompted the Vancouver Park Board to try to ban the programs in July.

Vancouver Aquarium's keeping of cetaceans in captivity prompts city-wide calls for a ban

A trainer works with Beluga whale Aurora at the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, B.C. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

From protest lines to picket lines to hockey lines, it has been another fascinating year in the news in B.C.

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The Vancouver Aquarium's practice of keeping and breeding cetaceans in captivity came under fire from animal rights activists and municipal politicians in 2014, prompting the Vancouver Park Board to pass a motion to review the aquarium's programs in June.

The issue received a push when Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson weighed in, saying he was personally against the practice.

It then garnered international attention when conservationist Jane Goodall added her voice to the opposition.

​The Vision Vancouver-dominated Vancouver Park Board took on the issue, voting to draw up a bylaw that would allow the aquarium to keep cetaceans, but ban the breeding of most whales and dolphins.

The president of the Vancouver Aquarium, John Nightingale, fought back against the proposed ban. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The aquarium launched a lawsuit against the park board, arguing the issue fell outside of the board's purview. 

Then in the municipal election, Vision Vancouver lost control of the park board, and incoming NPA commissioners promised to end the ban.

After the election, the outgoing park board failed to pass the proposed bylaw at their final meeting, but did pass a resolution to review the aquarium's policies in 2015.

Vote now: What do you think was the most important story in British Columbia this past year?


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