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:

 

 

What’s for Breakfast?

Good morning!

We all know the importance of a well-balanced breakfast. You might have some cereal or bacon and eggs, washed down with a cup of coffee or orange juice. But, not Marineland’s animals! They also have a well-balanced breakfast, but less traditional items are on their menu.

The Marineland staff arrives bright and early to check all the animals, then, it’s time to serve breakfast! The staff takes out 2,000 pounds of fish to thaw. That’s a lot of fish! You can pick your jaw up off the floor, though! This isn’t all eaten at breakfast. The staff thaws the fish to feed to the marine mammals throughout the day.

We like to keep our animals healthy! Which is why we give them vitamins. And how do you get the animals to take their vitamins? Simple, you put the vitamins into the fish and then feed the fish to the marine mammals!

You might be wondering what the land animals at Marineland are fed for breakfast.
Each day, about 110 bales of hay and 454 kg (1,000 lbs) of grain such as corn, barley and oats, along with a vitamin supplement, are given to the deer, elk and bison.

Now, when you make your way around the park you will know what happens before the park opens! There is a lot of morning preparation at Marineland to keep our animals happy and healthy.

fish

What’s On The Menu?

Well, anything from herring to hay. Marineland provides wholesome, nutritious and palatable foods to all of our animals under the expert direction of our veterinary staff.

All of our marine mammals are fed restaurant quality herring, capelin and squid. In fact, you could take some home, cook it up and have it for dinner.

fishOur black bears receive a balanced diet of fish, fresh fruits, meats and vegetables. Yum!

Our deer, bison and elk dine only on hay that is of top quality. How much hay? Would you believe 110 bales per day?

For members of our deer family, hay is fed in conjunction with grains such as oats, corn and barley.

 

DIGITAL JOURNAL STATEMENT OF RETRACTION – MARINELAND OF CANADA – KISKA

Marineland is pleased to announce that the Digital Journal has today formally retracted the article it published on July 28, 2014 regarding the health and care of Kiska, Marineland’s killer whale.  The complete text of the retraction appears below:

Digital Journal published an on-line article on July 28, 2014 by Elizabeth Batt, “Killer whale at Marineland appears to be ailing” in which Ms. Batt reported allegations about Kiska, the Killer Whale. Upon further review of the allegations contained in the Article, Digital Journal retracts the Article in its entirety.

The article failed to reference a number of publicly available, independent investigations into Kiska’s health. Specifically, the article failed to mention that Kiska’s health and care has been thoroughly reviewed with the full zoo inspection team of the OSPCA, and experts from CAZA, and that no issues of concern with Kiska’s health were noted. The zoo inspection team of the OSPCA has since inspected Kiska following the allegations in the article as recently as October of this year, and again found no issues of concern with Kiska’s health. Marineland has subsequently communicated to Digital Journal that: (i) Kiska is healthy and well cared for at Marineland, (ii) Kiska lives in the largest pool housing a Killer Whale in the world, (iii) all of the water in Kiska’s pool is filtered and exchanged every three hours through an advanced computerized water filtration system, and (iv) that the water system has been independently reviewed and approved by Stantec, recognized experts in water filtration systems.

Marineland has further communicated to Digital Journal that: (i) Kiska’s health is monitored daily by experienced staff and professionals and that she receives excellent medical care from highly qualified and experienced veterinarians, including expert medical consultants, (ii) Kiska receives a healthy diet of high quality fish and her appetite is healthy, as is her weight, and (iii) Kiska’s teeth are in good condition for her advanced age and she receives a preventative “rinse” daily.

Digital Journal prides itself on its high standards of journalism and regrets that they were not met in this isolated case. Digital Journal apologizes unreservedly to Marineland.

 

A Thrill for Every Seeker

Not everyone is a daredevil, wanting to go over the Falls in a barrel. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few thrills at Marineland. We have a range of rides for everyone, from gentle waves to white-knuckle adventure.

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That Special Feeling at Marineland

There’s a certain feeling you get as you walk around Marineland. There’s so much to see and so much to do, and this special feeling grows the longer you stay. And that feeling is something we like to call… hunger.

Yes, it’s true. You will probably be hungry at some point during your visit, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our on-site cafeteria-style restaurant has all your favourites for a satisfying meal, from rotisserie chicken to pizza and burgers to salads and fruit options. Share some nachos with the family or a bagel for a light snack, too. And there’s a full range of soft drinks, juice, coffee, water, and even draft beer available.

You’ll find other options handy, too, at several food kiosks located throughout the park. Keep your cool with a waffle cone, share a snack with fresh popcorn, chill out with Minute Maid frozen treats, and always remember to stay hydrated with a refreshing bottle of water.

Want to bring your own food and beverages? Be our guest! Whether you bring your own snacks or pick something up at the park, pick a picnic table at the entrance or relax in the family picnic area inside the park. Because there’s only one feeling we want you to have when you leave for the day, and that’s satisfaction.