lca complaint marineland

 

Permit pending to import five Beluga whales from Marineland Canada to the U.S.

Jan 6, 2020 - On Dec 17, 2019, LCA filed a complaint with the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General against Marineland Canada based on performances of cetaceans (i.e., whale, dolphin, or porpoise).

The complaint was filed after the passage of Bill S-203 received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, which led to the creation of new animal cruelty provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada. These provisions impose restrictions on keeping whales, dolphins and other cetaceans in captivity. These sections allow organizatinos that had cetaceans before the bill came into effect to keep the cetaceans but impose restrictions on their handling. The new animal cruelty provisions at section 445.2(4) of the Criminal code set out that:

(4) Every person commits an offence who promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for or takes part in any meeting, competition, exhibition, pastime, practice, display or event at or in the course of which captive cetaceans are used, in Canada, for performance for entertainment purposes, unless the performance is authorized under a license issued by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of a province or by an authorized authority.

LCA attended, observed, and took video recordings at the dolphin show at Marineland on August 6, 2019. The show took place in a stadium in front of an audience. Marineland sold tickets to patrons to allow them access to the park and to watch the dolphin show. Dolphins are seen numerous times throughout the show performing tricks in front of an audience. LCA followed up with the Lieutenant Governor in Council's office, the Attorney General's office and the Solicitor General's office with an aim to determining whether Marineland has been issued a special permit for these performances, but have been unable to confirm.

At the same time of LCA's attendance, tickets were also available for purchase for encounters with Beluga whales. LCA witnessed at the Beluga whale encounter that patrons were permitted to pet and touch Beluga whales.

MYSTIC AQUARIUM CONNECTICUT APPLICATION (84 FR 52072) TO IMPORT FIVE BELUGA WHALES FROM MARINELAND CANADA IS PENDING

Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut filed a permit application to import five Beluga whales from Marineland Canada for scientific research. Under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Canadian Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, the laws do not allow for this importation. The five Beluga whales proposed for import descend from the depleted Sakhallin Bay-Nikolaya Bay-Amur River population in the Russian Federation. The MMPA clearly states there should be no public display of marine mammals from depleted populations. Otherwise, the relevent MMPA exemption for importing depleted marine mammals for scientific research would be a massive loophole to get animals for public display and breeding. The June 2019 passage of Canadian Bill S-203 made displaying cetaceans for entertainment purposes illegal and placed restrictions on importing, exporting, and breeding.

LCA is calling on the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General to investigate LCA's complaint against Marineland Canada. Politicians, law makers, concerned citizens, and numerous animal organizations of Canada and the United States have fought long and hard to get protections for cetaceans.

As evidenced by this letter written by the Animal Welfare Institute to the National Marine Fisheries Service, many people and organizations also take issue with the proposed export of the Beluga whales.

LCA is urging the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) to deny the permit application by Mystic Aquarium Connecticut to import five Beluga whales from Marineland Canada for scientific research. The NMFS is currently reviewing 9,532 public comments on the application that were submitted by midnight deadline on Dec 2, 2019. In addition, LCA is calling on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson to deny the export permit.

URGENT: Stop Marineland From Exporting Beluga Whales to the U.S.

 

Click here to sign the petition to STOP Marineland from exporting the beluga whales to the United States!

 

VICTORY: Bill S-203, Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, Passes in Canada!

In a landmark victory for marine mammalson June 10, 2019, Bill S-203 overwhelmingly passed its third reading in the Canadian House of Commons! The bill, which bans the breeding, capture, and confinement of cetaceans, was signed into law on June 21, 2019 after receiving Royal Assent.

Bill S-203, which was first introduced by now-retired Sen. Wilfred Moore in Dec. 2015 and later adopted by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in 2016, faced years of opposition in the Senate by pro-captivity Conservative lawmakers. Thanks to your hard work, the bill cleared one of its biggest hurdles on April 2, 2019, when it advanced through the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans unamended following Marineland's last-minute requests for amendments to the bill. 

Back in Nov. 2018, LCA created a petitionE-1919 (Cruelty to Animals)urging the Canadian House of Commons to pass the bill. Having reached the required number of signatures, the petition was certified on March 7, 2019, and was presented to the House for their review. 

LCA Investigation Reveals Cruelty to Whales at Marineland Canada

SAD LOSS ON AUGUST 13, 2017 - Gia, a three-year-old beluga whale featured in LCA’s investigation at Marineland Canada, suddenly died. Gia was one of five captive cetaceans (whales, dolphins & porpoises) in Canada who died between November 2016 and August 2017.


 Watch the video above to see LCA's undercover footage of Marineland Canada

(B-roll for PressThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to Request Access)

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:

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:

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. The OSPCA investigated but declined to take action against Marineland. The results of the OSPCA’s investigation are not publicly accessible, highlighting a disturbing lack of transparency despite the agency’s role as the enforcement arm of provincial animal protection legislation.

Marineland Canada, located in Niagra Falls, Ontario, first opened 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 $.25 cents for admission.  From that point forward, the park began growing rapidly and by the 1970s, 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 the public’s eye.

LCA’s investigation reveals that no whales should be kept in captivity and that doing so causes suffering and distress to these sensitive social creatures. The 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.

 

Beluga with eyes closed thumbBeluga with eyes closed above water

Gia head bumping the gate in isolation pen thumbGia head bumping the gate in isolation pen Beluga with injury on nose thumbBeluga whale with visible wound on nose
Gia body closeup ribs visible thumbGia's body closeup, with ribs visible Beluga with eyes closed closeup for feeding thumbBeluga with eyes closed at feeding Rake marks on juvenile beluga thumbRake marks on juvenile beluga whale

CLICK HERE to read expert's statement about the beluga whales at Marineland Canada.

 

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