Marineland under investigation after allegedly holding another illegal dolphin show
Niagara Falls destination Marineland has faced criticism for years for the alleged use of marine mammals for entertainment purposes, an issue that animal rights activists claim continues even with a court case ongoing against the seasonal theme park.
Marineland is back in court on Wednesday morning to defend its assertion that these shows are held for educational and not entertainment purposes, though it appears that these shows may have continued even after bombshell criminal charges were filed in 2021.
Niagara Regional Police are reportedly looking into allegations that another dolphin show was held over the May long weekend, possibly violating Section 445.2 of t he Criminal Code prohibiting the use of captive dolphins in performances for entertainment purposes.
And as the park denies the allegations, wildlife welfare organization World Animal Protection is pushing back against the tourist attraction by coming after one of its revenue streams.
The organization released a statement Wednesday morning urging e-commerce brand Groupon to cease selling ticket packages for Marineland, alleging that Groupon also "sells tickets to roadside zoos, including venues that have violated the Animal Welfare Act in the U.S."
"It is deeply concerning that there are ongoing allegations of illegal conduct by Marineland, and when a business faces charges like this, they shouldn't be allowed to operate until they have been cleared of the allegations," said Michèle Hamers, World Animal Protection Campaign Manager.
Marineland insists that the shows are held for educational value, though Hamers argues that "there is little if any benefit to turning these intelligent, complex animals into props for our entertainment."
World Animal Protection alleges that the park has banned scientists, lawyers and animal welfare supporters from the property, which, if true, doesn't really fit in with the whole "educational" narrative Marineland is trying to sell the public.
"We are asking Groupon to stop selling tickets to venues that exploit wild animals for entertainment and violate the few regulations that exist for animals," said Melissa Matlow, World Animal Protection Campaign Director. "All levels of government need to pass stronger regulations."
World Animal Protection states that Ontario leaves regulation of exotic animals up to municipalities. The organization claims this leads to regulatory loopholes and the country's weakest [aimal welfare] regulations.
"We are calling on the re-elected Ford government and newly appointed Solicitor General, Michael Kerzner, to step up and follow through on tighter regulations using the Provincial Welfare Services (PAWS) Act," added Hamers. "To echo the mantra of the government, let's get it done."
The Jane Goodall Act is currently working through Senate at the federal level, and would eliminate the commercial trade and breeding of more than 800 species, limiting businesses like Marineland's ability to profit from them.
CNW Group/World Animal Protection
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