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 LCA Investigation Reveals Cruelty to Whales at Marineland, Canada

UPDATE: In August 2017, Gia, a three-year-old beluga whale featured in LCA’s investigation at Marineland, suddenly died. Gia was one of five captive cetaceans (whales, dolphins & porpoises) in Canada who have died in the last year.

Bill S-203, Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, was introduced by Senator Wilfred Moore in 2015 and adopted by Green Party leader Elizabeth May in 2016. This bill will ban the capture, confinement, breeding and sale of cetaceans.
 
Please voice your support for S-203. It is crucial to urge the Canadian government to pass this bill, which will stop theme parks like Marineland from exploiting these senstive creatures for entertainment and profit.
 
CLICK HERE to sign the petition supporting S-203 - Ban whale captivity in Canada!!
 

 


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

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 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 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 causes 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.

CLICK HERE to sign the petition supporting S-203 - Ban whale captivity in Canada!!

Beluga with eyes closed thumbBeluga with eyesclosed 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.
 

In the News:

VICE - CLICK HERE

Niagara Falls Review - CLICK HERE

The Dodo Article CLICK HERE

Newstalk 610 - CLICK HERE

The Dodo Video - CLICK HERE

Animal Voices - CLICK HERE

Niagara This Week -  CLICK HERE