Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium: Stop hiding baby Beluga deaths behind copyright law!

Vancouver Aquarium: Stop hiding baby Beluga deaths behind copyright law!

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A jaw-dropping exposé about the Vancouver Aquarium -- Canada’s Blackfish -- has revealed some shocking truths. The film finds the aquarium’s Beluga whale infant are dying at an alarming rate -- but instead of addressing this tragic death rate, the facility has reacted by misusing copyright law to gag public criticism and debate.

This tactic was pioneered by massive, corporate factory farms in the United States who claim that journalists and documentary filmmakers have no right to expose inhumane practices because they violate copyright law. The New York Times called the practice “Ag-gag.”

Now Vancouver is doing the same thing: “Aqua-gag” means copyright laws that are supposed to be in the public’s best interest are in fact doing the opposite: suppressing public knowledge over how Canada’s noble marine mammals are being mistreated by an institution charged with their care.

We need to stop “Aqua-gag.” Tell the Vancouver Aquarium to stop hiding behind copyright law.

After Blackfish changed everything we knew about cetacean mammals in captivity, public debate on the subject is essential. No matter how you feel about the Vancouver Aquarium, the way it is actively stifling free speech is outrageous.

And the accusations made by Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered are as serious as they are credible: not only are Beluga infants dying at a rate far higher than their wild brethren, the film alleges the aquarium is purchasing dolphins from Japan for profit under the pretence of conservation and rehabilitation.

Copyright law is supposed to act as a balance between encouraging the distribution of original work while protecting the integrity of the creator and their right to make a living. It is certainly not meant to keep journalists from uncovering stories in the public interest -- or, as the Vancouver Aquarium insists, to stop them from even taking photographs of the building!

Vancouver Aquarium: This gag order is nonsense. Stop using copyright law to keep us from seeing how you treat your animals.

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