Vancouver Aquarium expose documentary blocked

Vancouver-Aquarium-UncoveredThe Vancouver Aquarium is allegedly attempting to censor a documentary that reveals details of the terrible conditions captive marine animals live in.

Filmmaker Gary Charbonneau released an email statement, which describes how the Aquarium has made repeated attempts to block the film, titled Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered, including reserving mass amounts of seats under false names and ripping down film posters.

According to the documentaries’ crowdfunding page, Charbonneau was inspired to make the film after attending a hearing in 2014, where Vancouver Aquarium representatives made the case for keeping marine animals in captivity.

“I decided to research this topic myself and examine the conservation, studies and well being of the cetaceans,” Charbonneau wrote. “What I’ve uncovered is absolutely shocking and sad. Everything we’ve been told about rescue, longevity and saving cetaceans in the wild is horrifically untrue.”

The documentary comes on the heels of an announcement that a Nova Scotia senator is proposing a bill to ban the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada. A screening for the documentary premieres at the Vancouver Public Library tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Watch the trailer below.

A must see movie exposing the truth on cetacean captivity. from Evotion Inc. on Vimeo.

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Ian Boothby • September 13, 2015 @ 9:13 PM

    If the charges are “alleged” you shouldn’t make the headline a definite statement. I know it makes for a more exciting story but right now they claim people are making reservations and then not showing up. And tearing down posters, which in Vancouver would be covered up in under a day or torn down anyway if placed in legal poster areas. A lot of maybes. The film has been screened twice. This isn’t censorship and shouldn’t be confused with it. This is just a promotion campaign for a film trying to raise money.

  2. martha • September 14, 2015 @ 8:15 AM

    someone has to speak for the captive sea creatures. i applaud their initiative in trying to get this message out.

  3. Joe • September 14, 2015 @ 11:06 AM

    Thank you for revealing the truth behind the blatant lies of the holocaust of captivity. Dolphin are demonstrably too intelligent & socially dependent to be used as slaves for our amusement – under ANY circumstances. Dolphin belong in the ocean with their friends and families.

  4. Steve Huxter • September 14, 2015 @ 12:26 PM

    The headline makes no allegation that it was the aquarium itself that was directly involved in efforts to sabotage the screening.

    Although, it is very likely that it was pro-captivity supporters of the aquarium that did so.

    Anyone who had made a reservation would very likely be an anti-captivity advocate. 80 people simply not showing up can’t be coincidence.

    How many reservations did you make Ian? (-;

  5. Ian Boothby • September 14, 2015 @ 5:04 PM

    Thank you for showing on your facebook page the three posters that had been torn down.

    All of these are on poles where it’s illegal to put posters (which is why you don’t see any other posters on them). Also it looks like you’re not taping them but using glue which then city workers have to scrape off. This is what you’ve done before with your Empty the Tanks posters. One from last year is still at the back of Guys and Dolls pool hall where you put it on top of a large piece of art. It can’t be removed without scraping off the paint from the art.

    Put your posters on the poles where posters are allowed and don’t use glue on places where they aren’t. But if you do you you can’t complain that people are taking them down.

    And Steve, I didn’t make any reservations for either of the two screenings of your film. But thanks for keeping with the false accusation theme of the film.

  6. laurence • September 14, 2015 @ 7:34 PM
  7. Shariffa Abdullah • September 14, 2015 @ 7:53 PM

    kudos to the senator from Nova Scotia who wants to ban all marine captivity I think after 40 years of swimming in the same tank and not being able to see my family would drive me crazy enough to kill. These aquariums that have killer whales dolphins and porpoise r just in it for the money while they make slaves out of the cetaceans, what’s really sad are the lies that they have been telling us like SeaWorld, Miami Seaquarium and every other aquarium that holds cetaceans. SeaWorld wants to open a aquarium in Dubai so they can continue making money off of their captives and also drugged and raped them to make more captives or slaves either way you look at it these animals are slaves and the people that own the Seaquarium are making billions of dollars off of them,they do not care about the animals or their welfare for that matter otherwise they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. it’s so sad that these family oriented mammals have to perform stupid human tricks and then when they’re done all they can do is swim in circles in their little tiny pools. WE need to ban captivity of all cetaceans all over the world.they belong in the ocean with their families not in a little pools running circles and doing stupid human tricks for profit, empty the tanks let them go back to where they belong in the ocean before there are more deaths of trainers an handelers. so far the these animals have been patience for so long how much longer are we going to keep them against their will? how many of them have to die and how many handlers and trainers have to die before we di the right thing & put these animal back where they came from. the only thing between these poor mammals and their freedom is greed.

  8. Beatrice • September 15, 2015 @ 9:43 PM

    Ian, the posters were taped, not glued. One of the locations of the three was on an authorized pole for posters, and the person who posted them checked daily to see when posters were being removed and the one on the authorized pole was CERTAINLY not cleared of all posters, it was a targeted tear-down. This is petty. Focus on the real issue: animals in captivity. It’s archaic. It needs to end and people need to care more and be a voice for the animals.

  9. Ian Boothby • September 15, 2015 @ 11:36 PM

    Hi Beatrice, okay so you’re telling me that one of the poles was authorized for posters. That means the other two weren’t. You can’t put up posters in a “post no bills” area and when they’re removed say it was censorship. So that leaves one poster that was torn. One. This is a news story?

    No it’s not, but it sounds like one. Now we have lots of people on twitter calling out the Vancouver Aquarium for censorship. Because one poster was torn down. Maybe by someone connected to the Aquarium.

    The other claim is that reservations were made for 80 people who didn’t show up to the first of two screenings that have happened. The venue has 170 seats. If you reserve a ticket you normally have to pay for it in full, tickets were $10 so if you’re saying someone paid for 80 tickets and didn’t show, that’s not much of a complaint. Especially since they then claim the show sold out. So either at the very least they sold out all 170 seats at full price or if they’re telling the truth they sold 170 seats + 80 that didn’t show. So it all worked out very well. Hard to call that blocking or censoring the film.

    As for the media not covering it, the Aquarium has no say over what the media decides to cover. If there’s an actual issue brought up with facts to back it up, they’ll do a story about it. They proved that last year. If they’re not covering a local low budget documentary, that’s not censorship that’s just what it’s like to be a local low budget documentary.

    My worry is that if facts are being played with so fast and loose here by the folks who made the documentary, what does that say about the film? This is a great example of something that seems shocking until you look at it for a second and realize that it’s all someone crying “Wolf”. That’s the danger, yell it enough and when something bad really does happen, no one is going to come running.

  10. Beatrice • September 18, 2015 @ 6:43 PM

    Mr. Boothby I will address your comments in the following order:

    1. Over 100 posters were taped not glued (as seen in the photos) in various areas. We did the best we could to ensure all were placed in appropriate areas and only two poles had posters that weren’t allowed and we apologize for this mistake. Many were torn down more than once.

    2. This was not a publicity stunt and we will forward anyone the Eventbrite ticket information from the screening including you and then you can apologize for misguided accusations. We had to increase the number of seats available from 200 to 245 because of the false reservations. All 245 were reserved with approximately 35 empty seats at the screening. This amounts to 80 seats reserved but not taken nor did any of them cancel. This was unfortunate because we had a waiting list of people who actually wanted to see the film. So whom ever did this was somewhat successful.

    3. You claim the aquarium has not taken from the wild but what you fail to tell the whole truth. The aquarium was forced to do this in 1996 and they fought it fervently. Apparently, you didn’t see the film because it exposes what the Vancouver Aquarium and the Georgia Aquarium are up today regarding wild capture.

    4. The film also exposes the truth about the so called rescue of dolphins you and the aquarium claim is for benevolent reasons. I would advise everyone to watch the film and judge for themselves.

    5. Lastly, the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre does save animals but you fail to discuss how many are being ignored because the Vancouver Aquarium is not allocating the proper funds to its much needed expansion. The aquarium has recently acquired 100 million dollars for expansion purposes yet leaves the rescue centre to struggle. This film expresses the urgent need to expand the rescue centre. Once again, I advise everyone to watch this film and then contact the aquarium to verify the authenticity of the facts. They will be shocked to find out this film is accurate.

  11. Ian Boothby • September 18, 2015 @ 10:52 PM

    Hi Beatrice,

    1. So you’re saying 100 posters were put up and only 2 were in illegal areas. BUT on the facebook page for the film you put up both of those 2 as examples of “sabotage”. I can only look at the evidence you present and put online. 2 out of 3 torn posters were in places where it was right that they were torn down and where they shouldn’t have been put up in the first place. Here are your examples again.
    At the very least now that you know those examples are bad, you should probably take them down.

    2. You’ve got a film that claims it’s going to expose the Vancouver Aquarium. It’s screened twice. Out of that there are no stories about the content or any new damning information. I find it hard to believe that we’d be talking about people reserving tickets and not showing up or torn posters if you had a better publicity angle to take. 80 people said they’d show for your event and didn’t. That sound pretty standard for any event in Vancouver. Check out any facebook event and see how many people say they’ll come to something but don’t. Even if it was “sabotage” and the worst case you present is true, it had no effect because you say you sold out both shows. There’s no damage to you.

    3. I said that the Aquarium doesn’t do wild capture. You’re right, they did it 20 years ago. Even if they were forced to do it back then that means they don’t do it. There’s one beluga at the Aquarium that’s from before the ban and she’s with her daughter who was born there. All others marine mammals are rescues. If you’ve got evidence to the contrary get it to the media right away. As we saw last year they’ll cover the story. The Georgia Straight will for certain. It’ll help promote your film and get you that indiegogo money. This “they tore down our posters” thing won’t do it.

    4. If you have any new info please present it. Places like VanAquaFacts have been telling half truths and outright lies about that for years.

    5. The problem is the people you feature in the trailer have been crying wolf for years culminating in the Aquarium being used by politicians like Constance Barnes last year as a way to get more face time in the media. They tried to ban breeding at the Aquarium even though there is none. There are only two animals it would have affected, a pair of porpoises that aren’t at sexual maturity yet and that would have had to be separated. But it didn’t pass because it was pointless. In the end Barnes compared the treatment of the animals to the slavery her people faced 100 years ago. Yes 100 years ago. In… 1915? In Canada? But no one even fact checked that!

    You’ll probably raise the $12,000 in the end but the fact that you haven’t yet shows people have grown numb to the same people saying the same things over and over. If you have something new to tell us, please get it in the press. If you don’t, stop crying wolf.

  12. Sandy Moore • January 21, 2016 @ 8:41 AM

    Mr. Boothby.
    I am familiar with both facilities cited in he above mentioned documentary film. I have known and continue to associate with employees, and former employees in one of them.
    The level of accuracy in terms of the diminished life and stunted natural life skills of the incarcerated animal is high.
    I say incarcerated, because the parallels of incarcerated convicted humans, and the unfortunate kidnapped animals are very obvious.
    And you choose to argue poster distribution.
    Your skills in terms of deflection need improvement.

  13. Ian Boothby • January 30, 2016 @ 8:20 PM

    Hi Sandy,
    The poster stuff is because they brought it up as how their film was “blocked”. Silly, but that was their claim and it got them this press so it worked.
    Here’s the Aquarium’s response to the film itself…

  14. Pat Row • February 28, 2016 @ 1:41 PM


    This whole poster thing is a deflection from the real issue. Keeping these animals in bath tubs is a travesty. I hope in the near future these animal jails will be empty.

    I hope the day comes when living things are more important than the almighty dollar. Men like the execs at the VA should not have have the power to capture and torture (yes I said torture) these magnificent beings. Ghandi said “You can tell a lot about a culture by the treatment of it’s animals.”. Shame on the Vancouver Aquarium!

  15. Moms and Schools Please help • April 5, 2016 @ 7:50 PM

    Imagine if you, or your children, were caged in a tub at the Vancouver Aquarium for over 20 years.

    Please help free the belugas and dolphins from the Vancouver Aquarium, and stop the breeding program.

    Please watch this video

    Thank you for helping to stop slavery!!!

  16. Quality of life • September 16, 2016 @ 5:09 PM

    I think its important to look at both sides and then figure out where you stand. It seems pretty clear that someone here hasn’t watched the film. Although both sides has the ability to falsify info there’s some pretty undeniable evidence that goes beyond twisting words. Does that mean its all real? Of course not but we should be aware of the possibility that a trusted organization may not be completely transparent (gasp). You should get all the information available if you want to feel real strongly and get pissy with people about something like this. Just saying. Here is the film:

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