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Ontario to Ban Orcas in Captivity, Deadmau5 Was a Factor

Last week, new legislation went into effect that put a ban on breeding and acquiring orcas (killer whales) in Ontario, Canada. The news is part of a big movement, but one that is close to home for native Joel Zimmerman (Deadmau5). Since late last year, he's been tweeting against the entertainment park Marineland in his home town. He opened up about his feelings with this open letter called “Deer Marineland,” where he made his intentions known (also via Twitter) that he was considering buying out the park just because of his passion to shut down their animal pens and aquariums.

Treatment of orcas has been under strong debate since the 2013 documentary film Blackfish hit theaters. The film, produced by Manny Oteyza, documents the historical issues with SeaWorld‘s treatment of their orcas in captivity. Some shocking footage and information stunned viewers and eventually led to a huge decrease in SeaWorld's attendance. Their stock fell over 30% and the CEO Jim Atchison stepped down in January. Mystery still surrounds the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, a veteran SeaWorld trainer who died while training with an orca named Tilikum about five years ago. This was the third death from the same whale while in captivity.

More vulnerable to protests and debate, Marineland in Canada has been receiving more attention since Blackfish was released, especially concerning their poor living conditions for marine mammals. Along with artists like Deadmau5, city officials for Community Safety have recently decided to make some bold moves to support helping orcas out of captivity. One such move is now going into action.

The ban on breeding and holding orcas (killer whales) in Ontario started one week ago, with Queen's Park covering the story. A first conviction will be a reportedly $60,000 fine according to Queen's Park media. The decision to move this direction was based on a 125-page research document by a team of scientists.

Last week, Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi said: “Today’s announcement is about ensuring that Ontario has the best standards of care possible for marine mammals. That is what Ontarians expect and these animals deserve.”

The result of this action could close Marineland.

Deadmau5 joins a list of artists and celebrities to stand up against orcas in captivity (and being attacked in the wild in Asian territories) of late. His friend Tommy Lee has protested SeaWorld while others have made big statements. Scheduled to perform in a SeaWorld function, Joan Jett, Willie Nelson, Heart, and the Barenaked Ladies recently cancelled their performances. They join a number of other musicians like Colbie Callait who support anti-Seaworld protest and further studies about orcas in captivity.

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