Decisions must be made based on facts and science, not feelings alone

The last time the Park Board voted regarding the Vancouver Aquarium, Vision Vancouver commissioner Constance Barnes compared cetacean captivity to human slavery saying, “Less than 100 years ago, my people were being bred, and less than 100 years ago, my people were being sold.”

Reporters and the people around listened and nodded and no one asked, “Are you saying there was slavery in Canada after 1914?”

They didn’t say anything because what Commissioner Barnes stated was said with passion and conviction. She spoke from the heart. And even though it was clear to anyone who thought about it for five seconds that it was factually inaccurate, no one questioned it. Maybe she meant slavery somewhere else in the world, maybe she meant 200 years. We don’t know because no one there asked. What she said wasn’t true but it felt true and at that meeting, that was all that mattered.

Vision Vancouver Board Chair Aaron Jasper said, “I’m not a whale biologist, I’m a realtor, and sometimes you just have to go with your gut.”

Not one reporter asked if a realtor going with feelings on a subject they admit to not fully understanding was a good idea. There’s an adult conversation that can be had about breeding and captivity but when you take science out of it and start making up history we’re in trouble.

At every Vancouver Aquarium protest people bring signs with orcas on them, wanting them to be freed. There aren’t any. They want wild whales to stop being caught and taken away from their families. That’s been banned. But no reporter ever brings this up. Everyone gets to state their feelings like they’re facts because their passion makes for a good looking story.

As long as we keep allowing feelings and facts to have equal weight we’re endangering the animals and stopping a real debate from happening. Please start to question what you hear from all sides on this issue and do some fact checking afterwards, that’s how you get to the truth. A person who loves animals will give a hungry dog their chocolate bar but good intentions and bad information can do much more harm than good.

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