Legal complaint launched against Marineland after viral video showing depressed orca
Following the recent release of a video that showcases the heartbreaking plight of Kiska the orca, considered the most famous — and lonely — animal at Marineland in Niagara Falls, a non-profit organization has filed a legal complaint against the zoo for its treatment of the creatures it houses.
Animal law advocacy group Animal Justice announced on Wednesday its formal submission of a complaint to provincial authorities in which it demands "an investigation into the conditions endured by Kiska, an orca who has been held by herself at Marineland for a decade."
It notes the video, which was posted by a former Marineland trainer and has gone on to accrue hundreds of thousands of views and renewed ongoing calls to relocate Kiska to a sanctuary and even close down the 60-year-old attraction altogether.
LET KISKA GO 👊👊— Lanaroske (@Lanaroske1) July 22, 2021
This is the extreme cruelty to take these highly intelligent, family oriented majestic creatures and make them do tricks to appease human beings
ORCAS need miles to swim in and be FREE
Not locked up into a chlorinated bathtub pic.twitter.com/syt5fs0Slq
The orca has has been living in complete isolation in a concrete pool since 2011 after being captured off the coast of Iceland some 30 years prior, and has been shown for years to be in poor physical and mental condition that has only worsened with time.
She is Marineland's last survivng orca and the last captive orca in Canada, as well as the only captive orca in the world who lives without any companions, as the species is extremely social and intelligent.
Her treatment and condition hav been called into question on many occasions in the past, while the park has also been condemned for dozens of animal deaths, unsanitary water and other poor conditions.
Earlier this month, new information emerged from an ongoing inspection by Animal Welfare Services that confirmed the animals in the brand's care are living "in distress" due to poor water quality.
BREAKING: Animal Justice lawyers have filed a legal complaint asking authorities to investigate whether #Kiska, the solitary orca at #Marineland, is suffering from psychological distress—which is illegal under Ontario law.— Animal Justice (@AnimalJustice) July 28, 2021
Get the details ➡️ https://t.co/MQ70yB0dRB#FreeKiska pic.twitter.com/D3hoszwfTq
"It's heartbreaking to watch Kiska languish in a tiny tank without companionship, and keeping her in these conditions may well violate animal protection laws," Animal Justice's executive director said in a release about the legal action.
"In Ontario, it’s not only illegal to cause physical distress or suffering to an animal — it’s illegal to cause psychological distress, too. The two new videos of Kiska raise serious concerns that her physical and mental needs are not being met, and we are calling on provincial authorities to launch an urgent investigation and do everything in their power to help Kiska."
Kiska, MarineLand Canada’s last surviving orca is literally dying for our entertainment. She’s been alone since 2011, having outlived all her tank mates, including her 5 calves. Her solitary confinement is beyond abuse. It’s torture. #FreeKiska pic.twitter.com/dQXHOfdYwL— Phil Demers (@walruswhisperer) July 14, 2021
Though Canada passed the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act in 2019, it applies only to keeping, breeding and trading new whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment purposes, not those already in captivity.
It remains to be seen what tangible action, if any, will result from the strong response to the latest videos of tragically dispirited Kiska.
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