+
popular

Canada just passed the “Free Willy” bill, making it illegal to keep dolphins and whales in captivity.

A historic win.

Canada just passed the “Free Willy” bill, making it illegal to keep dolphins and whales in captivity.
Canva

In a historic win for cetaceans and animal-rights activists, Canada is banning the practice of keeping whales, dolphins, and porpoises in captivity.

Remember the scene in Free Willy when the Orca who had been living in an amusement park finally leapt into the wide open ocean and the whole audience cheered? Well, that iconic scene is taking on new significance in Canada this week, as the nation's House of Commons just passed a bill making it illegal to keep dolphins, whales, and porpoises in captivity for breeding or entertainment purposes.

Bill S-203, or The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act (known colloquially as the "Free Willy Act") means anyone found capturing the animals, holding them captive, or procuring their embryos or sperm, can be fined up to $200,000.


"The passage of Bill S-203 is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals and a victory for all Canadians," Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Humane Society International/Canada, said in a statement. "Whales and dolphins don't belong in tanks, and the inherent suffering these highly social and intelligent animals endure in intensive confinement can no longer be tolerated. We congratulate the sponsors of this bill and the Canadian government for showing strong leadership in responding to public will and sound science on this critical issue."



The bill makes exceptions for animals that are being rescued and rehabilitated, and for limited scientific research.

Not everyone who holds cetaceans captive are exploiting them for money or entertainment. There are legitimate research and rehabilitation reasons to temporarily keep an animal in captivity.

"A person may move a live cetacean from its immediate vicinity when the cetacean is injured or in distress and is in need of assistance," the bill states. Researchers must obtain a license from the government in order to hold a cetacean for research purposes.

The bill allows the two facilities in Canada that currently house cetaceans—Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland in Niagara Falls—to keep the animals they have as long as they do not breed them. The Vancouver Aquarium has a dolphin named Helen, and Marineland houses an Orca named Kiska and around 50 beluga whales.

According to Mongabay News, the bill was supported by animal welfare organizations like the Humane Society International/Canada, Animal Justice, Humane Canada, the Jane Goodall Institute, and Ontario Captive Animal Watch. It was also supported by cetacean experts like Lori Marino and Naomi Rose of the Whale Sanctuary Project, and Phil Demers, the former head trainer at Marineland.

It was a hard-won victory, taking four years for the bill to pass through the Canadian legislature.

The bill was first introduced to the Senate in 2015. It will now return to the Senate for "royal assent," or final approval before it officially becomes law.

Renowned marine scientist Hal Whitehead said, "The living conditions for captive marine mammals cannot compare to their natural ocean environments in size, nor in quality. We thank the federal government and all those involved in the passage of Bill S-203, so that our laws can finally align with the Canadian peoples' values and end this cruel practice."

"This is a major victory for cetaceans," Lori Marino of the Whale Sanctuary Project said in a statement. "They are among the most cognitively complex of all animals. Confining them to life in a concrete tank is truly unbearable for them."

Wilfred Moore, the senator who sponsored the bill, said, "We have a moral obligation to phase out the capture and retention of animals for profit and entertainment. Canadians are calling upon us to do better — and we have listened."

Thank you, Canada, for passing this bill protecting these magnificent creatures!

The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

A woman treats her miniature pig like a toddler and it even 'talks' with electronic buttons

Merlin will tap buttons that say “eat,” “outside” and “ice cream.”

Photo by Ben Mater on Unsplash

A woman treats her pig like a toddler and the internet can't get enough.

Pigs are cute. Well, piglets are cute, but they usually don't stay those tiny little snorting things very long. That is unless you get a mini pig and name it something majestic like Merlin. (I would've gone with Hamlet McBacon, but no one asked me.)

Mina Alali, a TikTok user from California, has been going viral on the internet for her relationship with Merlin, her miniature pig. Of course, there are plenty of folks out there with pigs—mini pigs, medium pigs, pigs that weigh hundreds of pounds and live in a barn with a spider named Charlotte. But not everyone carries their pig around on adventures like it's their child.

Alali's videos of her sweet interactions with her little pig have gotten a lot of people wanting their own piggy, but training Merlin wasn't always easy. According to Yahoo Finance, the 25-year-old told SWNS that she has wanted a pig her whole life and finding Merlin was a "dream come true," but she wasn't expecting how challenging it would be to train him. If you've never been around pigs, then you may not know that they squeal—a lot—and unless you're living on an actual farm, that could be a problem.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

More than seven thousand people shared their best ideas to stop mass shootings. Here are the best.

Everyone agrees mass shootings need to end. But what can really be done?

A makeshift memorial after the 2019 El Paso mass shooting.

As of January 24, 2023, at least 69 people have been killed in 39 mass shootings across the United States . The deadliest shooting happened on January 21 in Monterey Park, California, when a 72-year-old man shot 20 people, killing 11. On January 23, a 66-year-old man killed 7 people and injured another in a shooting in Half Moon Bay, California.

It’s hard to see these stories in the news every few weeks—or days—and not get desensitized, especially when lawmakers have made it clear that they will not do anything substantive to curb the availability of assault weapons in the U.S.

After the assault weapons ban, which had been in effect for 10 years, lapsed in 2004, the number of mass shootings tripled.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

People rally behind a 12-year-old actress who was 'humiliated' with a 'Razzie' nomination

The parody awards show has now enforced an age limit rule to its nominations.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong in the 2022 film 'Firestarter'

Since the early 80s, the Golden Raspberry Awards, aka the "Razzies," has offered a lighthearted alternative to the Oscars, which, though prestigious, can sometimes dip into the pretentious. During the parody ceremony, trophies are awarded to the year’s worst films and performances as a way to "own your bad," so the motto goes.

However, this year people found the Razzies a little more than harmless fun when 12-year-old actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong was nominated for "Worst Actress" for her performance in the 2022 film "Firestarter." She was 11 when the movie was filmed.

Sadly, this is not the first time a child has received a Razzie nom. Armstrong joins the ranks of Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," as well as Macaulay Culkin, who was nominated three times.

Armstrong's nomination resulted in a flood of comments from both industry professionals and fans who felt the action was cruel and wanted to show their support for the young actress.

Keep ReadingShow less