Friday, August 29, 2014

10,000 Reasons

Statement by Mike Garrett

On Thursday Aug 28th I received notice of Justice Lococo's cost award ruling stemming from a hearing held in June of this year.  In that hearing I sought to have Marineland's injunction order against me set aside, an injunction they received in 2013 designed to silence public protest on public property outside of the captive animal facility.  In that hearing I was unsuccessful in having the order set aside however I did succeed in opposing Marineland's request the order be expanded in scope with further restrictions to myself and include other demonstrators.   For the costs of this litigation Marineland  indicated to the court they were seeking $30,000 and I submitted legal costs of $10,000.  Ultimately Justice Lococo ruled I shall pay Marineland the cost of $10,000.  The injunction order will remain in place until the outcome is determined of  Marineland's separate $1.5 million dollar lawsuit against me.

The outcome of this is not surprising in a system that is setup to allow the abuse of process against individuals like myself by a large corporation such as Marineland.  From day one I have been very aware of the consequences of opposing a company whose very business model is based on abuse and whose actions and behavior within the community could best be described as corrupt.   The abuse of animals, people, the political and legal systems, the environment  -  I have always had many reasons why I oppose Marineland and now I have 10,000 more.  The cost award changes nothing.  I will be back on the streets tomorrow opposing this facility and industry as I've always done.  I will continue to use creative and effective tactics against them at every opportunity and I will not lose a minutes sleep over it.  I will also not back down upon facing further litigation by Marineland designed to intimidate and silence free speech.  I will pay Marineland their $10,000 confident in knowing which side of history I'm on and how history is about to play out for them. I am very satisfied in knowing that I am costing them much more than they could ever derive out of me.

I want to thank every single person who continues to stand beside me in this fight.  Friends and strangers from the activist community and beyond, from all over the world.  Thank you to those that have offered financial and emotional support, who understand what this picture below represents and that the only way to battle an enemy like this is to work together.   We won't be silenced.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Walrus chases down Marineland owner John Holer

Marineland owner John Holer found himself being chased off his own stage by one of his own captive walrus recently. The incident was captured on video shot by user What2du and posted online. It shows Apollo a large male pacific walrus locking eyes with the animal slavemaster and charging towards him. Holer was forced to make a hasty retreat and exit stage left.


Friday, August 8, 2014

#FREEKISKA T-Shirt Campaign Launched

Kiska is Canada's last remaining captive blackfish, imprisoned at Marineland in Niagara Falls for nearly four decades.  She's has watched all of her own calves die and remains alone swimming endless circles in a barren concrete tank for the amusement of tourists.  Many are concerned for her own health now.  A T-Shirt campaign has been launched to raise awareness about Kiska and her plight as the "world's loneliest orca".

The campaign will run ONLY UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1st and the goal is to get as many T-shirts with the hashtag #FREEKISKA out into to the public as possible.   Please support this campaign by purchasing your own T-shirt or some for friends and family who care about ending captivity.   T-shirts are available for as little as $17 in both Men's and Women's styles.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Marineland Summer Trivia Challenge

Marineland is currently holding a summer trivia contest on their Facebook page.  Marineland: In Depth thought it would only be appropriate that we help out the captive animal facility by making sure folks have all the true trivia facts.  See how many facts you know in our 10 trivia questions. If you need a hint you can check the Marineland News Archive.  Scroll down for the surprising answers!

Marineland Summer Trivia Challenge

Question 1
How many orca have died at Marineland?
a) Over 5
b) Over 10
c) Over 15
d) Over 20

Question 2
The property where Marineland is located was originally the location for what?
a) John Holer's house
b) A Wax Museum
c) A POW camp
d) Farmland

Question 3
Upon arrival at Marineland, trainers witnessed what they thought was this animal attempting suicide by repeatedly smashing its head against a wall:
a) Baby Jane the pilot whale
b) Kandu the killer whale
c)  Bruin the black bear
d) Isis the beluga whale

Question 4
In 1981 an outbreak occurred among Marineland's animal resulting in many animals having to be killed, what was the cause?
a) Foot and Mouth Disease
b) Tuberculosis
c) Mad Cow Disease

Question 5
What year featured the very first public demonstration against Marineland?
a) 1977
b) 1986
c) 1991
d) 1999

Question 6
What criminal charge has Marineland owner John Holer NOT faced?
a) Careless Driving
b) Animal Cruelty
c) Illegal Hunting
d) Uttering Threats

Question 7
Marineland imports their wild caught animals most often from this country:
a) Japan
b) Mexico
c) Russia
d) China

Question 8
How many animals are thought to be buried in Marineland's animal graves at the back of the property?
a) Dozens
b) Hundreds
c) Thousands
d) None

Question 9
Name the two neighborhood Labrador Retrievers Marineland owner John Holer is accused of shooting:
a) Ren & Stimpy
b) Jake & Toby
c) Blue & Thor
d) Bandit & Tucker

Question 10
This well known activist  famously called Marineland "a thug in the neighborhood" in 2005:
a) Paul Watson
b) David Suzuki
c) Ric O'Barry
d) Bob Barker


Question 1:
Over 20 orcas have died at Marineland, giving the facility one of the worst mortality rates of any aquarium or zoo in the world.

Question 2:
The property where Marineland is situated was originally the home of a German Prisoner of War Camp during World War II.

Question 3:
Shortly after arriving at Marineland a 700 lbs pilot whale named Baby Jane repeatedly smashed her head against the gate and wall of her tank.

Question 4:
A Tuberculosis outbreak occurred among the deer at Marineland resulting in a quarantine and mass killing.

Question 5:
1977 featured the very first public demonstration against Marineland by Greenpeace activists.

Questions 6:
Despite various threats being captured on video, Marineland owner John Holer has yet to face the charge of uttering threats by police.

Question 7: 
Marineland has imported most of their recently wild caught animals from Russia where regulations are lax.

Questions 8:
Marineland's mass grave sites are estimated to hold the corpses of thousands of animals.

Question 9:
Blue & Thor were the names of the neighborhood dogs witnesses allege John Holer shot dead and had their bodies buried in a mass grave.

Question 10:
David Suzuki called Marineland "a thug in the neighborhood" appearing in the Niagara Region to assist activists being sued by the facility.  

All Eyes on Kiska

This week mounting public pressure on Marineland saw the facility on the defensive over the health and care of its last remaining orca, Kiska.  Disturbing new photos and video released by several cooperating animal advocacy groups show what appears to be a decline in Kiska's health.

Captured off the coast of Iceland in 1979 Kiska has been at Marineland for over 30 years.  Moved around the facility throughout the decades she has watched all of Marineland's other orcas die including 5 of her own calves.  She now spends her time in a solitary tank with no companion.

The materials released by the advocacy groups Ontario Captive Animal Watch and Fins & Fluke show the daily teeth flushing regiment Kiska is forced to endure where trainers flush away particles from her broken, ground down and destroyed teeth.  Captive orcas often grind their teeth or chew on gates or the sides of their tank out of boredom or stress which over time results in broken or damaged teeth that require daily irrigation.  The pulp is exposed which could lead to infection so the teeth are drilled in a haphazard pulpotomy performed without anesthesia.  The drilled teeth require flushing several times a day.

The groups also released several images taken over the span of a year showing the possible deterioration of Kiska's dorsal fin as well as a depression behind her blow-hole which could be an indication of a condition commonly known as 'peanut head' indicating severe weight loss.  All photos and video have been submitted to the Ontario SPCA who say they are investigating.

Concerns for Kiska's health resulted in several articles this week as well as news reports on CBC and CHCH news.  Marineland has denied all claims calling concerns for Kiska's health 'ridiculous'.  No on-staff vet would appear on camera to defend the park's care and in the CHCH report Marineland admitted they do not have a scale to weigh Kiska.  In 2012 it was revealed in a Toronto Star investigation that Kiska's tail had been bleeding for months in a persistent health issue Marineland had difficulty dealing with and the killer whale was constantly medicated.

Marineland has one of the highest mortality rates for orcas of any aquarium in the world with 14 dying there in the last 2 decades alone resulting in the complete collapse of their captive breeding program.  In 2011 Seaworld successfully sued Marineland and repossessed their orca Ikaika over concerns about the whale's health if it remained at the Niagara Falls facility.

This past June saw a Free Kiska demonstration our front of Marineland.  Ontario Captive Animal Watch has scheduled a public demonstration at the Newmarket Ontario SPCA office on Wednesday August 6th to ask the government agency to help Canada's last remaining captive orca.  They have also released an online petition which has already garnered nearly 5,000 signatures.

UPDATE:  #FREEKISKA T-Shirt Campaign Launch - Check it out here!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Whistleblower Files Amended Counterclaim Against Marineland

PHOTO: Toronto Star
Former Marineland trainer turned whistleblower Phil Demers has filed an amended Statement of Defense and Counterclaim against Marineland Canada.  Filed on July 24th in St. Catharines, the counterclaim includes additional allegations against the facility and its owner John Holer since Demers filed his original statement of defense and counterclaim last year.

Marineland is suing Demers for $1.5 million dollars after he and other employees went public in 2012 alleging ongoing and persistent neglect of animals at the facility.  In the suit Marineland alleges Demers trespassed on Marineland property and plotted to kidnap Smooshi the Walrus.  Demers immediately fired back by counter-suing Marineland alleging defamation and abuse of process.  Demers is seeking $1.5 million in damages and costs.

Among the allegations made in the 21 page document Demers alleges:

  • Marineland has falsely accused him of wrongdoing and defamed him constantly through various means.
  • Marineland has instructed employees to defame Demers when speaking  about him or Smooshi with the public.
  • Marineland has intentionally delayed moving forward litigation concerning himself and his girlfriend Christine Santos who is also counter-suing the park.
  • The owner of Marineland John Holer has exhibited stalker-like behavior in relation to driving past the Demers & Santos residence, a matter that was brought to the attention of the Niagara Regional Police.
  • New and disturbing allegations of threatening behavior by Marineland owner John Holer directed personally towards Phil Demers.

Marineland Canada is currently suing 3 ex employees, 2 activists and the Toronto Star newspaper.  All defendants have filed their statements of defense or counterclaims and there has been no significant movement to push these lawsuits forward by Marineland.   Legal experts have described the lawsuits as SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).