Heal Our Planet Earth
Save the Dolphins

Save the Dolphins
My take on the Vancouver Parks Board meeting



My take on the Vancouver Parks Board meeting

by Anthony Marr


The official focus of our segment in the Vancouver Parks Board meeting was the proposal by Parks Board Commissioner Marty Zlotnick to basically rule out any referendum process on any thing that has to do with the Vancouver Aquarium, be it its planned 30% expansion, or further acquisition of whales and dolphins.
There were 26 speakers in total, listed below in chronological order of speaking, and color-coded for good and evil, 5 minutes each.
1.  Anthony Marr (HOPE-CARE)
2.  Kelly Bunting (Coalition for No Whales in Captivity)
3.  Janos Mate (Whale Friends)
4.  Anita Romaniuk (ex? ParksBoard commissioner)
5.  Lea Johnson
6.  Robert Light
7.  Bruella Battista
8.  Keith Edwards
9.  Isabel Minty
10.  Stuart Makinnon (Green Party of Vancouver)
11.  Joan Reekie
12.  Laura McDiarmid
13.  Jamie Lee Hamilton
14.  Rebeka Breder (tentative)
15.  Ron Rothwell
16.  Janet Lenarduzzi (Chair, Vancouver Aquarium)
17.  Stephen Thompson (Sea Shepherd)
18.  Clint Wright (VP Operations and Animal Care, Vancouver Aquarium)
19.  Tom Mayenknecht
20.  Martin Haulenna (Veterinarian, Vancouver Aquarium)
21.  Penny Hentzel (Volunteer, Vancouver Aquarium)
22.  Eleanor Hadley
23.  Brook Wade (Board Director, Vancouver Aquarium)
24.  Jim Varah (Volunteer, Vancouver Aquarium)
25.  Carolyne Varah (Volunteer, Vancouver Aquarium)
26.  John Nightingale (Executive Director, Vancouver Aquarium)
Being the first speaker, and presumably the only person in the room to have performed missions in Japan, I saw my task as setting the platform, the main concern, the deep focus and the tone.  I deliberately ignored the subject on the table (the Zlotnick motion) out of contempt (the biggest insult is to ignore), and concentrated on the global ramification of hundred of individual aquaria buying a few dolphins each, even if certain aquaria (e.g. the Vancouver Aquarium) have policies to not purchase dolphins caught from the wild ("Japan will just capture more young female dolphins to breed captive-born babies which the "civilized" aquariums would then purchase.")  I pointed out that at $20,000+ per captured dolphin and only $500 in meat per slaughtered dolphin, it is the dolphin-capture industry that is driving the dolphin-slaughter industry ("If no aquarium buys any dolphin, the slaughter industry would cease, and 20,000 dolphins a year would be saved.").  At one point, the chairperson, one of the pro-Zlotnick commissioners, ordered me to get on topic.  I responded "I'm sorry, commissioner, but my stand on the topic should be clear.  I will use my time allotment to press my point.  I want all present with the power to vote to have a clear picture of what they will be voting on before they vote, and I hope when they do that they will be voting with their conscience."  He let me fnish.  I concluded by saying "With what I have outlined, if the Vancouver Aquarium still purchases dolphins from Japan, you will have the blood of 20,000 dead dolphins on your hands, year after year."
Obviously, someone from our side had to address the official topic (the Zlotnick motion, which has more to do with democracy than animal rights), and Kelly Bunting took it up with gusto, and every speaker after her, all in all a powerful performance. 
One of our speakers quoted MacKenzie King that those opposed to a referendum are the ones who are afraid of losing. 
There were about ten speakers from the Aquarium, and they were scheduled towards the end, with Dr. John Nightingale given the honor of the grand finale and the last word.  Steve Thompson had the misfortune of being placed in the midst of Aquarium speakers, but his combative eloquence did Sea Shepherd proud.   (Could you post a summary of your speeches, Kelly and Steve?) 
Eleanor Hadley (age 83) brought up the rear, whose speech moved Steve to make a special trip across the chamber-floor to shake her hand.
After the speeches, the commissioners (6) took a vote - 4-2 in favor of the Zlotnick motion.  We groaned.  At least one woman on our side broke into tears.
Here is my take on this matter:
1.  We were unwitting poster boys/girls for the system to deomonstrate to the TV viewing public (very dangerous voters in the case of a referendum) how democratic "our" societal mechanism is (I mean, if this were China, I would have been led away in mid-speech and thrown into the slammer, and the key thrown away, right?). 
2.  Not a single word we uttered meant a hoot to the pro-Zlotnick commissioners (including of course Zlotnick himself).  They may as well have put on head phones and listened to elevator music; the result would have been the same.  Not a word that poured out from our hearts made one smidgeon of difference to these commisioners.  The whole thing was premeditated, preplanned, predetermined, rigged, staged, signed, seal, delivered, on TV.
3.  The Parks Board and the Aquarium have become one ("breathing through the same nostril", in graphic Chinese slang).  They can plan behind closed doors at will, and twist any rule in their favor.
This meeting is the last straw in my humble opinion.  While there is no doubt we have to continue following this avenue of pursuit (since the avenue exists, and since we can), but to follow it and it alone is to fight in the enemies' arena, by their rule, with whatever weapon they allow us.  To ask them to do anything is to give them power - ours.  And to react to their initiatives in which they have total control, and even to protest their actions, is to submit to their will.
We should by all mean continue to speak at their meetings, but our interest in doing so should be mainly to take advantage of these soapboxes that they provide us to speak our minds, perchance to reach the broader public through media (within the room itself, our words would by and large fall on deaf ears).  In this we can be highly successful.
But this alone is not enough.  We must create initiatives of our own, where the enemies have to fight in our arena, by our rule, with the weapons that we allow them.
As to what such an initiative is, it is limited only by our imagination, courage, determination and stamina.


Return to Save-the-Dolphins

Home Page


What's New

Preserving Earth's Biodiversity




Terminate the Canadian Seal Massacre

Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE)

Deep-Rural-India Expeditions

Educational Outreach

Undercover Operations

Media Events

International Conferences

Omniscientific Cosmology and Integrative Transcendence

About Anthony Marr



Contact Us and Donate

Your Comments and Inquiries are Welcome


This site is hosted and maintained by
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation.