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An Open Letter in Support of Vancouver Aquarium
Posted on July 30, 2014
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Mr. Mayor and Councillors, City of Vancouver
Mr. Chair and Commissioners, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
Mr. Malcolm Bromley, General Manager, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We are writing to express our joint support for the Vancouver Aquarium. The Aquarium is the City’s major tourist destination, largest cultural institution and a globally recognized research and conservation centre.  Unlike its Canadian counterparts, the Aquarium operates without government subsidies from any level, including the City.

We are concerned by recent comments indicating that the City of Vancouver, through the Board of Parks and Recreation, is seriously considering changing municipal policy to negatively affect the Aquarium’s ability to continue operating as a world class cultural and educational institution.

The Vancouver Aquarium is recognized internationally for its high standards of animal care, the important research it conducts with many species, including beluga whales, its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and its focus on enhanced public engagement. Eighteen years ago the Aquarium took a principled stand as the first institution in the world to pledge to never capture cetaceans from the wild.  That pledge means the Aquarium houses only whales and dolphins that cannot live in the wild.  We believe these animals are far better off in Vancouver than they would be in other facilities elsewhere.

Vancouver has a tremendous asset in the Aquarium.  Locals and visitors from around the world come away changed by the experience of seeing animals up close – animals they are unlikely to ever see in the wild.  They leave more curious about and interested in current ocean issues ranging from basic coastal ecology to the impact of climate change.  And what both Aquarium and collaborating scientists are able to learn from the animals in the Aquarium’s care grows more and more important as the animals’ natural environments change.

We urge that this issue be considered very carefully, and that decisions be made based on facts.  The Aquarium is a world leader and has our unequivocal support. It deserves the same from the City of Vancouver and the Park Board.

Most Sincerely,

Ross J. Beaty
Ned Bell
F. J. (John) Blatherwick, CM, OBC, CD, FRCP(C)
Marilyn Blusson
Stewart L. Blusson, Ph.D., OC
Richard F. Bradshaw
Valerie Bradshaw
Peter M. Brown, OBC, LL.D.
Rob Clark
John A. Fraser, PC, OC, OBC, CD, QC
George W. Hungerford, OC, QC
Jane K. Hungerford
David Jensen
Mary C. Jordan
Paul Kennedy
Hassan Khosrowshahi
Lily Lee
Robert H. Lee, OC, OBC
Don Lindsay, OBC
Bjorn Moller
Dana Montalbano
John Montalbano
Rudy North, CM
Brian Riddell, Ph.D.
Praveen Varshney
Yosef Wosk, Ph.D., OBC

We have also received letters of support by former City of Vancouver Mayors who have proudly stood by our conservation efforts over several decades as Vancouver’s marine science centre:

  • Michael Harcourt – Mayor of Vancouver 1980 – 1986, Premier of British Columbia 1991 – 1996
  • Philip W. Owen, OC – Mayor of Vancouver 1993 – 2002
  • Larry W. Campbell – Senator representing British Columbia, Mayor of Vancouver 2002 – 2005
  • Sam Sullivan, OC – MLA for Vancouver-False Creek, Mayor of Vancouver 2005 – 2008

Thank you to all our community champions, including the thousands of supporters who have shared a letter or signature in the past few months to help protect our marine mammal research, rescue and conservation program. Your collective voice has made a significant difference.

If you would like to share your support and have not yet done so, please do!

 


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  1. As a politician myself, I am completely appalled at this sad, political, decision to ban breeding of creatures in captivity.
    This middle of the line decision will satisfy no-one; and frustrate everyone. The radicals will continue their vociferous minority protests until they get their way from our “ever trying to accommodate” weak willed politicians; while the supporters of the Aquarium will see their creatures deprived of the very basic of animal rights, the right to procreate. If you don’t want animals in captivity, let them go, and allow them to succumb to the predatorily ways of mother nature’s oceans. Quit trying to find some defensible option, that you hope will win you a vote back into politics in the next election.
    And, if you wish to defend this decision, then why stop at whales and dolphins? don’t all creatures deserve equal treatment? the noble sea slug and sea cucumber surely have rights too? why not ban their ability to be collected if not injured, and then insist on them being sterilised. You might want to do some research on the hermaphrodites in the aquarium, those sneaky creatures have no respect for bylaws!
    Am embarrassed member of our sad self-serving society.

  2. The Vancouver Aquarium is an iconic institution in British Columbia and part of the very fabric of the west coast. It does great work on-site, in Canadian communities and on the international stage. Van Aqua is something for Canadians to be proud of and to build up and support. Their ethical standards are of the very highest calibre and the contrary arguments tend to be moot. Let spend our energy helping , support and grow this great place that walks the green and sustainable talk. The new green is blue.
    Anne

  3. It is great that the former mayors of Vancouver are supporting the Vancouver Aquarium. We need more like them to voice their support for the Aquarium. Let try and keep what we have.

  4. That’s a beautiful letter! It’s so encouraging to hear that so many great people, including former mayors of Vancouver, having been supporting the Vancouver Aquarium.