Tuesday, January 26, 2016

BREAKING: LCA Investigates Marineland

UPDATED: The story in this post is now the subject of a Libel Notice from Marineland Canada. See below.




Last Chance for Animals, an animal advocacy group in the United States has published an investigation into Marineland Canada.   Using undercover footage obtained within the park their video shows disturbing images of the conditions of the captive beluga whales at Marineland.   The Niagara Falls facility currently holds the world's largest collection of captive beluga whales.


You can view the video LCA posted here:  WARNING it contains disturbing images.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxSlYfONZyg



LCA Provided the following summary of their findings on their website:

Summary of Investigative findings

LCA conducted a five-month undercover investigation into Marineland Canada, during the summer and fall of 2015, with a primary focus on the park’s beluga whale population and the conditions under which they are being held. The majority of the park’s 46 belugas are confined to just three main pools with no breeding program in place to regulate births, allowing Marineland’s population of belugas to continue to grow at an alarming and irresponsible rate.

The investigation uncovered disturbing inadequacies in the care of the whales, which include:
  • Multiple beluga cows observed suffering for months from an undiagnosed condition reported by employees to park management as “genital rubbing” which caused the whales to rub themselves constantly against the concrete tank until blood was visible in the water
  • Gia, a juvenile beluga who was initially separated from her mother by accident, was left in a shallow isolation pool for three months while she became emaciated
  • A three-month old beluga calf with a deep laceration near his fluke left untreated for two days before seen by a local small animal vet. The laceration reopened shortly thereafter
  • Belugas exhibiting signs of eye abnormalities, such as redness, irritation, and cataracts, and in some cases, young belugas appearing to develop cataracts prematurely
  • Numerous belugas with various medical conditions, such as hypersalivation, regurgitation, and raw, red throats, in some cases for prolonged periods of time
  • Routine deprivation of food for training purposes
  • The birth of 5 calves, one of which died
The investigation also revealed that the whales were housed in enclosures that are not only barren in comparison to their natural environment but also unsafe and harmful in their very design and the interactions they promote, including:
  • 46 belugas of both sexes ranging in age from newborns to mature adults confined in three main cement enclosures
  • Belugas, including newborn calves, covered in “rake marks”, from being attacked and bitten by dominant whales
  • Enclosures that did not provide the whales with areas away from public view, nor any protection from the elements
  • Enclosures with inadequate barriers that promote unsupervised public contact with the whales as well as the accidental or deliberate introduction of foreign objects into the whales’ enclosures
  • Kiska, Marineland’s lone orca, constantly swimming in circles in the smaller of her two pools
  • More than 100 barrels of industrial strength bleach kept on site, and employees repeatedly complaining of burning eyes and a strong chlorine smell on certain days when next to the pools
These findings formed the basis of LCA's complaint to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for violations of the OSPCA Act and its prescribed standards of care.

Marineland Canada, located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, first opened its doors in 1961 as little more than a roadside attraction. John Holer, whose background is in the circus industry, purchased three sea lions to put on display, and charged one quarter for admission. From that point forward, the park began growing rapidly, and by the 1970’s, had expanded to include a 2,000 seat “aquatheatre”, as well as acquiring its first captive orca, “Kandu”, who quickly became the star attraction. Marineland is now not only Canada's largest amusement park, but also confines more beluga whales than any other park in the world.

Marineland and Mr. Holer are no strangers to controversy, having become the subject of intense public scrutiny after allegations emerged of mass animal graves located inside the park, a claim which was later proven to be true. Since then, the park has been involved in a litany of scandals involving both the park itself, and the often erratic behavior of its owner, John Holer. Persistent pressure and condemnation from the public, activists, and particularly from former Marineland employees themselves have garnered widespread media coverage, including an in-depth investigation into the park by The Toronto Star.

Despite Marineland management and Mr. Holer’s repeated attempts to silence critics with frivolous lawsuits and threats of litigation, the atrocities committed by Marineland and Mr. Holer are firmly established in public’s eye.

LCA’s investigation reveals that no whales should be kept in captivity and that doing so causing suffering and distress to these sensitive social creatures. Canadian parliament has before it bill S-203, “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act” which would prevent this tragedy being inflicted upon future whales by banning their capture, confinement, breeding and sale.


LCA also provided a statement by marine mammal expert and Neuroscientist Lori Marino Ph.D. regarding her observations of the investigation which can be read here.

Marineland has responded to the investigation with the following statement:

An anonymous video, allegedly taken three to four months ago, was released today by a Los Angeles based radical animal activist group in which that "group" makes a series of false allegations of criminal animal abuse against employees of Marineland.
This video follows an orchestrated phone call and Facebook attack this past Friday by another radical animal rights activist group against Marineland alleging that Kiska the killer whale had died.
Both sets of allegations are tied to efforts by radical animal rights activists to obtain signatures on their petition to the federal government regarding a private member’s bill introduced by an unelected senator, which will ban all marine mammals in captivity in Canada, forcing the closure of the Vancouver Aquarium, Marineland and all other marine mammal facilities. That private member’s bill died on the order paper and has now been re-introduced by that same unelected Senator.
The allegations by the Los Angeles based "group" are completely and knowingly false.
If the "group" actually believed the allegations were true it is unbelievable that they would wait almost four months to make any report to the OSPCA or anyone else of the alleged "abuse".
They make these allegations now because they are false, and they know it, and solely to promote their petition to the federal government, which this “group” has linked on its web page to the video.
In response to some of these false allegations, Marineland has posted photos of Kiska, taken yesterday. She is completely healthy and fine.
Today, video and photos have also been posted to Marineland’s website of the animals depicted in the Los Angeles group's video, all of which are also healthy, thriving and fine.
Please see the following link - https://www.facebook.com/MarinelandofCanada
Marineland is the most thoroughly investigated marine mammal facility in the world. All of its animals have been inspected by numerous independent scientists and experts over the last three years, including by an independent panel of three experts appointed by the Government of Ontario.
The Government of Ontario, after appointing an expert panel, reviewing the independent expert report, extensive discussions, a full public hearing, and participating in the work of a technical advisory group which included Zoocheck Canada, and other activist groups, has passed strong marine mammal regulations which apply to all the marine mammals at Marineland.
Marineland is working with the Government of Ontario to ensure the ongoing health and welfare of all its animals.
These types of grossly false allegations by a marginal and radical Los Angeles based “group” that was not involved at all in the legislative process in Ontario and also failed to participate at any point over the last four years in any investigations or discussions, are made solely for publicity reasons and are knowingly false.
All this “group” has done is make a hate-filled rant on the internet without concern for any consequences to the people who dedicate their lives to these wonderful marine mammals at Marineland and without regard for any damage they may cause to innocent people in the community of Niagara Falls.
Marineland trusts that the Canadian public will see these false allegations by this Los Angeles based “group” for what they are.

Marineland Canada has served a notice of Libel for posting about this story:

2 comments:

  1. You guys know that that ozone smells just like chlorine right? XD

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shut this place down already!

    http://m.thestar.com/#/article/news/canada/2012/08/15/marineland_animals_suffering_former_staffers_say.html

    ReplyDelete