Ontario SPCA Surprise Inspection of Marineland Confirms No Sign of Abuse, Distress, Mistreatment or Neglect of Animals at Marineland Canada

The Ontario SPCA confirmed after a surprise inspection of Marineland Canada on August 16, 2017 that there were no signs of abuse, distress, mistreatment or neglect of any animals in Marineland’s care including: black bears, elk, red deer, fallow deer or guinea hens.

In November 2016 and January 2017, the OSPCA laid a series of questionable charges against Marineland. Those charges were entirely withdrawn by the Crown Attorney who did not believe any of them met the legal threshold to warrant a trial.

Yesterday’s inspection further confirms Marineland’s total innocence to all allegations made by discredited activists and to the recently withdrawn charges laid by the OSPCA that Marineland has categorized as ‘bizarre’.

The OSPCA claimed to Marineland that there is no relationship between their surprise visit and the Crown’s decision. The OSPCA confirmed their surprise inspection was not the result of a complaint made against Marineland. The OSPCA also confirmed full cooperation and full access to the entire park was provided by Marineland Canada.

Despite frequently false allegations made by discredited activists regarding marine mammal care at Marineland, the OSPCA further confirmed there are no signs of abuse, distress, mistreatment or neglect of any marine mammal species. This includes our beluga and walrus populations which are frequently subjected to false allegations spread by activists who fundraise off of their lies about Marineland.

None of the allegations made by activists against Marineland have been verified by any objective review of facts and reality. Marineland has consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellent care for all of the animals who call Marineland home.

Marineland welcomes continued inspections by the OSPCA and remains focused on ensuring that we provide the best quality care to our animals while creating a welcoming, educational environment for the guests who visit our park each year.

Crown Withdraws All Charges Laid By the OSPCA Against Marineland

Marineland has been cleared of all charges laid by the OSPCA. The charges were formally withdrawn on Thursday.

In addition to the reputational damage suffered by Marineland as a result of the charges that were withdrawn, Marineland has also suffered five years of baseless accusations by ill-informed, radical activists.

When Marineland responded to the January 2017 charges we said:

“the OSPCA is continuing a publicity campaign at the behest of a band of discredited activists with little relevant expertise or knowledge, in an effort to avoid further embarrassment related to an ongoing investigation into the OSPCA’s perceived failure to protect animals that is being led by the same activists they are now firmly in bed with.”

Marineland stands by that statement.

We also said then:

“Marineland looks forward to the OSPCA laying out their case in court, where facts matter and there is an objective measure of reality that has not been seen in the basis of their charges or the supporting documentation. We will hold the OSPCA to the high standards of Ontario’s legal system and require them to defend their charges to the fullest extent possible.”

The Crown conducted its own independent review of the OSPCA charges and has effectively agreed with Marineland by determining all the charges ought to be withdrawn.

The OSPCA literally prepared the first of these charges on site, after spending a single afternoon executing a search warrant and viewing more than 4,000 animals across more than three hundred acres at our park.

The OSPCA did not remove or isolate any of the 4,000 animals, despite laying multiple charges.

Following the laying of the charges, the OSPCA issued multiple press releases. They then posted that same information to the Internet platforms they actively fundraise from.  They also organized and conducted a news conference to publicize the laying of the charges. Marineland expressly requested to listen in to the press conference and the OSPCA refused that request.

Marineland was unnecessarily made to suffer severe reputational damage at the hands of the OSPCA’s publicity and fundraising machine.

As a matter of practice, Marineland now audio and video records all OSPCA inspections of the park to ensure an accurate record of the inspections and conditions of the animals and the park. Following the laying of the charges, the OSPCA conducted a full two-day inspection, that was audio and video recorded, of the very same animals and enclosures, and found no issues of concern.

With The Bison Appearances Can Be Deceiving

The North American bison is often incorrectly called a buffalo.  While they look similar, the name buffalo belongs properly only to the two main buffalo species that reside in Africa and Asia that being the African Cape buffalo and the Asian water buffalo.

One of the heaviest land mammals on earth, male bison, referred to as bulls, can grow 3 m to 3.7 m (10 or 12 feet) in length and as tall as 1.8 m (6 feet) at the shoulder and weigh up to 1360.5 kg (3,000 lbs.)

Short, black horns stick out from the bison’s massive head.  The hair on the head, neck, shoulders and forelegs is long and shaggy.  The hair on the head can grow up to 30 cm (1 foot) long and forms a beard on the chins of the bulls.

You wouldn’t think it, given its enormous size and clumsy appearance, but the bison is a surprisingly agile and sure-footed creature.  Bison are also very fast and can run up to 55 kilometres per hour (34 miles per hour).

You might also be surprised to learn that bison are amazingly good swimmers.  Being so buoyant, the head, hump and tail stay above the surface of the water.

Bison once roamed the continent in huge numbers before being hunted to near extinction.  Thanks to conservation efforts at reserves and game farms like Marineland their numbers have increased.

What a shame it would have been if the bison had completely disappeared!

Be sure to take time to appreciate and admire the majestic bison on your next visit to Marineland.

IMG_0398

B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Food) OR LET US FEED YOU

Unlike most theme parks, Marineland allows guests to bring their own food and beverages into the park.  But, if you would prefer to avoid the hassle of packing a lunch, you will find plenty of tasty food items to choose from in our on-site, cafeteria-style restaurant, The Hungry Bear.

Hot Dog 62 KB

 

Hamburger 78 KB

Traditional and popular fare like juicy burgers; crispy, golden fries and delicious pizza are on the menu to satisfy your hunger while you spend the day enjoying the park’s attractions.

If you prefer lighter options, try our mouth-watering rotisserie chicken.  We also offer fresh salads and fruits.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with one of our desserts or enjoy an ice cream cone.  We think you will find our soft serve to be the best you’ve ever had!

Ice Cream

Find a full list of our menu items here.

 

“No Issues of Concern” at Marineland

Comprehensive inspection by OSPCA further confirms findings of International Marine Mammal Experts – “No issues of Concern” at Marineland

NIAGARA FALLS – ON – Tuesday, February 28, 2017 – Marineland’s Animal Care Committee, in accordance with strict and comprehensive Ontario legislation and regulations recently enacted, conducted a thorough inspection of the marine and land animals at Marineland.

Internationally recognized expert, Dr. Lanny Cornell, conducted a comprehensive examination of all the marine and land animals and found the animals to be healthy, behaving normally, well fed and well taken care of.

Dr. Cornell considered all the issues identified by the OSPCA and issues raised by radical animal rights activists.

His entire report is available online at Marineland’s webpage:  http://www.marinelandblog.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Animal-Care-Report-Dr.-Cornell-Feb-16-2017-Final.pdf and was provided to the OSPCA.

Following that comprehensive review the OSPCA conducted a complete inspection of every animal, the facilities and all records at Marineland on February 21-22, 2017.

The OSPCA acknowledged full cooperation by Marineland, full access to every part of the Park, inspected every animal, reviewed all records, and complete access to all staff members on site.

The OSPCA noted “no issues of concern”, laid no charges and issued no orders.

The animals are healthy, receive appropriate enrichment, are fed a diet of fresh fish fit for human consumption, have access to clean fresh water, and the facilities are clean and well kept.

Pursuant to a lengthy two-year process of legislative review, an independent  expert report, input by a technical advisory group made up of activists and Animal Care experts, and public hearings, The Government of Ontario enacted strict Animal Care guidelines and marine mammal regulations designed to provide high standards of care under public oversight for all marine mammals in Ontario.

Marineland provided input into and complies strictly with those guidelines.

Marineland remains fully committed to the long term health and care of all its animals and providing Canadians with a unique opportunity to view our incredible marine mammal heritage in a family friendly environment.

For over fifty years Marineland has provided millions of Canadian families, many who could not otherwise afford to travel to either coast, an opportunity all Canadians should experience.

Marineland looks forward to another fun and educational year for all the families choosing to visit our Park.

Each year Marineland attracts almost a million visitors to the Niagara Region and remains a critical component of the economy of Ontario.

-30-

For more information:

Marineland
Marketing Department
Email: marketing@marineland.ca
Phone: 905-356-2142

OSPCA Lays Strangest Charges Yet Against Marineland Canada

ElkPhoto-January9-2017Marineland Canada is responding to news reports of additional charges being laid against the park by the OSPCA related to alleged failures to respond to the standard of animal care and permitting an animal to be in distress related to a Fallow Deer, a Red Deer and an Elk.

These charges stem from an inspection on November 10, 2016, sixty-one days ago.

The OSPCA charges fail to identify a specific animal they believe to be in distress or not receiving an appropriate level of care sixty-one days ago at our park, and failed to identify a specific animal in their charges today.

Once again the OSPCA has opted to publicly announce charges and this time even undertook a press conference with the Deputy Chief Inspector of the OSPCA Jennifer Bluhm answering questions for the media. A representative of Marineland contacted Melissa Kosowan of the OSPCA to seek our participation by phone or web link in their press conference to allow us to hear the information they were sharing with the media, but had not shared with us. This request was refused, with Marineland being told this was not possible.

We believe the OSPCA is continuing a publicity campaign at the behest of a band of discredited activists with little relevant expertise or knowledge, in an effort to avoid further embarrassment related to an ongoing investigation into the OSPCA’s perceived failure to protect animals that is being led by the same activists they are now firmly in bed with.

Marineland looks forward to the OSPCA laying out their case in court, where facts matter and there is an objective measure of reality that has not been seen in the basis of their charges or the supporting documentation. We will hold the OSPCA to the high standards of Ontario’s legal system and require them to defend their charges to the fullest extent possible.

A scan of the charges can be viewed here.

Edible Stickers Do Not Constitute Abuse

Black bear at Marineland, November 29, 2016

Black bear at Marineland, November 29, 2016

Charges of animal cruelty have been levelled against Marineland by the OSPCA because a few produce stickers had accidentally been left on the fresh fruit and vegetables being served to the park’s bear population.  The assertion that this amounts to a serious enough incident to warrant the charges laid makes a mockery of the OSPCA’s work.

Marineland maintains over 30 black bears at its facilities, and they receive regular feeding and care from staff we have carefully trained. We provide our bears with a very healthy diet of fish, fruits and vegetables, which has been approved multiple times in the past four years by the OSPCA. Veterinary staff examined the bears on November 23, 2016 and noted “the bears are on an excellent and varied diet.”

In the wild, black bears are opportunistic eaters – they can eat almost anything they encounter. Plant roots, berries and other fruit, insects, fish, and meat are common choices. When pressured, they will eat garbage, human food, rotting flesh, and have even resorted to cannibalism. They are dangerous animals when malnourished, and have the power to take down a moose. Inadequate diet is not only a danger to the animal, it would place our workers at risk.

We provide produce fit for human consumption, and will cut off spots of the various fruits and vegetables that do not look good. The bears are provided 170kg of produce daily, and this amount is adjusted based on intake to ensure they are neither under nor overfed. We do not provide feed that would endanger the health of the animals in our care. While we try to remove all produce stickers, some have ended up in the feed. However, all produce stickers in Canada are made with edible paper or other food grade materials, including the adhesive, so there is no risk to the animals.

There has never been a complaint made by anyone, including the OSPCA, about the water provided to the bears. The bears have easy access to a constantly refreshing supply of spring water available to them, pumped to them straight from the source.

The bears are also provided with over 100 kg of fish daily, taken from the same storage facilities we use to hold the fish we serve our marine mammals. This fish is fit for human consumption to ensure high quality and good health in our animals. The fish are stored in a freezer until they are prepared and served to the bears.

To suggest the small, edible stickers found on virtually every piece of fruit and vegetable in North American supermarkets poses a threat to an adult black bear is ludicrous. The OSPCA appears to be bowing to pressure from activist animal groups to seem to be doing something, even if it is the wrong thing, rather than doing what is in the best interest of the animals. If they are hoping that by launching these baseless charges that the radical animal rights groups will go quietly, they will soon learn they have only emboldened the activists to come up with ever more spurious claims they expect the OSPCA to pursue.

Gia and the LCA

Gia the beluga whale, at Marineland November 29, 2016

Gia the beluga whale, at Marineland November 29, 2016

Marineland has been the target of other false and misinformed attacks from the radical animal activist group, Last Chance for Animals since 2013. In January of 2016, they issued one such assault that included a claim about Gia, one of the beluga whales in our care.

According to LCA, “Gia, a juvenile beluga who was initially separated from her mother by accident, was left in a shallow isolation pool for three months while she became emaciated”. This certainly sounds like a terrible situation, except this view from Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles is very different from the one in our park. Something got distorted over those 4,000 kilometres.

This allegation and others by LCA sparked an investigation by the OSPCA, who were rightfully worried about reports that a beluga would be purposely left isolated and starved. Except, like all claims coming from LCA regarding Marineland, the truth ended up being remarkably different.

According to the veterinary and park staff who care for Gia and her mother daily, when Gia was two and a half years old she was not at the same weight as the rest of the belugas of the same age. She was still being fed by her mother, but her mother was pregnant and due that summer. Gia would eat some fish that was provided to her, but not enough.

Staff grew concerned at her lack of growth and took steps to correct the issue. At first, they tried supplementing her fish with oils, but it wasn’t giving them the results they wanted. The decision was made to place her in our Friendship Cove to receive more intensive treatment and where she could be monitored frequently. Gia soon began increasing her diet. It was a gradual gain, but she soon gained enough weight to be safely reintroduced to the main pod.

When all this had been explained and proven to the satisfaction of OSPCA investigators, no charges were laid. In fact, no changes in care or procedures were even requested, because there simply was no truth to the LCA allegations. Once again, they were merely trumped up complaints meant to discredit and defame Marineland.

Last Chance for Animals brought up their lies about Gia again this week to defend their latest round of fundraising/complaints against Marineland and we felt that once again, we’d respond to their falsehoods.

 

Anti-Marineland Activists Playing Veterinarian With Video – Again

Marineland, Niagara Falls – Why would animal rights activists sit on footage of an animal they believed to be suffering for 103 days before releasing it? Today, August 31, 2016 anti-Marineland protesters released a video filmed of a deer on May 21, 2016 titled ‘Injured deer at Marineland Canada’ with the following sensational description “Marineland Canada is under intense scrutiny for their treatment of whales and dolphins, but this neglect extends well beyond marine mammals.”

In reality, anti-Marineland activists have filmed a scenario common to all land based mammals who set foot or hoof in an environment where pebbles lurk. The deer in question had a pebble caught in his hoof, similar to when a beachgoer has a pebble in their shoe. This is an experience that no one, not even a deer, would enjoy. At Marineland, our staff respond to situations like these by approaching the animal and removing the pebble from their hoof – a service not offered to deer in the wild.

The catastrophized medical diagnoses offered by individuals relying on poor quality footage shot on cellphone cameras is once again wrong. Despite the ill-informed prophecies of individuals who lack any formal veterinary training, once again selective footage of one reality has been presented as something completely different.

In the real world where Marineland’s mammals live and continue to thrive, our animal care team diligently provide unparalleled levels of care for the mammals who live at our park. We embrace the frequent visits from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) and continue to follow best practices of animal care, despite the ill-informed opinions of non-experts who exclusively rely on amateur videos to feed their need to find something to fault at Marineland.

Marineland Canada is the most regulated and inspected facility of its kind and offers a fun -filled destination for families and friends, while also providing an opportunity to interact with a variety of species that most in the Great Lakes region would otherwise be unable to see. Our park continues to remain committed to providing high quality care to all animals who call Marineland home and continues to rely on formally educated and qualified veterinary experts who have real time interaction with our animals to do so.

We welcome inquiries from media on this latest false claim from anti-Marineland activists and others where a reality check is needed and will be happy to work with any government sanctioned regulator or investigator who is interested in knowing more about our land based mammal care practices.

 

Life of a Marine Mammal Caregiver

The most important part of a marine mammal caregiver’s job is keeping routine records of all of the animals.

“We have sheets for each of the animals. We’ll write down what they did that day, their behavior that day and how they are interacting with the other animals they are living with,” said Dan Macdonald, marine mammal caregiver.

These records are used to communicate with other caregivers and veterinary staff, so they can stay up to date with each animal.

The bond between a caregiver and marine mammal is strong. The Marineland caregivers feel connected with the animals and love getting to know the individual personalities.

Check out this video to find out what a typical day is like for a marine mammal caregiver: