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Thu Jan 31, 2013, 02:23 PM

Marineland (Canada) is a Hellhole

By Brad Casey

Marineland, Niagara Falls’ premier tourist destination, was opened in 1961 by John Holer. At the time, John was a portly Slovenian immigrant who couldn’t find work when he arrived to Canada. With what little money he had, and what little English he could speak, Holer built two water tanks and acquired three sea lions. When he opened Marineland’s doors, admission was 25 cents per person. In the 52 years since then, Marineland has expanded to include a large collection of animals, animal shows, and a theme park with over a dozen rides. His is the kind of story that gives one hope, and makes one look nostalgically to the past when things were simpler, right? No. According to an exposé headed by Toronto Star reporter Linda Diebel, Marineland is rife with animal neglect and poor facility conditions that have led to an ever-evolving series of depressing stories, distressing events, and grim accounts from Marineland employees. Not to mention the protests, lawsuits, and public overload of bleeding hearts.

In the original Star report, a group of former Marineland employees came forward with allegations that the park suffered from poor water quality. They also noted that the park was understaffed and mentioned several cases of animal neglect. Doesn’t sound so hellish at first, right? Well, the water in some of the facilities was turning green and causing seals to lose their vision, and one of them even had an eye pop out of its socket when it barked because the water eroded its eye lens away. Several dolphins were losing their skin, which was coming off in chunks in the pools. A baby beluga named Skoot contracted bacterial meningitis, and was then attacked by other whales that threw her into a stone wall and killed her. After that, she was pulled from the pool by two trainers and "convulsed and died in their arms.” There is even a logbook from a former Marineland supervisor, who wrote that water was coming up from a sewer near Friendship Cove that was so corrosive it ate the tires off a pickup truck.

But Marineland doesn’t limit their severe conditions to aquatic animals. There are also land animals that get to feel the pain, and their problems are even more grim. According to this article, Marineland has a cramped collection of 15 bears. They share four dens and are underfed. They have to fight for corn pops, which people throw at them, and occasionally eat their own young. There was an incident where one bear was killed by four other bears as a crowd observed.

Then there’s the deer. The deer at the park suffer sores from the concrete grounds and sometimes break their legs, at which point, instead of euthanizing the injured animals, park owner John Holer has allegedly resorted to shooting them with a shotgun while sitting inside of his truck. According to the former supervisor of land animals, Jim Hammond, Holer once shot a sick deer in the neck, drove home, and then when Hammond called Holer to tell him the deer was still alive and choking on its own blood, Holer told him to finish the job with his knife. Hammond said it was like “trying to cut into concrete,” because the knife was so dull. The Star, who initially reported on all of this, was unable to confirm Hammond's claims regarding the incident, as Marineland would not comment on it. Holer’s response to these allegations of gruesome killings has simply been along the lines of an Elton John inspired, “circle of life” type statement.



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Reply Marineland (Canada) is a Hellhole (Original post)
n2doc Jan 2013 OP
GCP Jan 2013 #1
dballance Jan 2013 #2
GCP Feb 2013 #3

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 02:38 PM

1. Doesn't Canada have an animal welfare society like the ASPCA?

Surely this place could be shut down.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 03:17 PM

2. I Think We Should Shut Down Seaworld Here in the US


I wouldn't be surprised if there are some hidden stories about SeaWorld that are comparable to Marineland.

All of those animals SeaWorld has in captivity did not evolve to live in small pools and tanks. I've read that the reason the Killer Whales' dorsal fins bend over is because the fins atrophy due to the fact the whales don't get to swim long distances that give the fins "exercise" and so they atrophy. Just like humans' muscles atrophy from lack of use or "exercise." Their fins are not muscles but, rather, cartilage however the principle is the same.

I think it's cruelty to animals that once roamed thousands of square miles to lock them up in small tanks and pools and put them on display for money.

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Response to dballance (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 05:42 AM

3. I agree

My husband believes that in time, animals will have rights, we just have to evolve a bit more.

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