What’s Really Going On At Marineland Canada

Marineland Canada is in the news again, being attacked by disgruntled former employees again, who are working with a professional activist group that raises just under $2 million dollars per year to share their distorted view of facts about others… again.

We believe the public has a right to know the truth about Marineland, and every reasonable person will understand that truth isn’t going to come from the radical, non-credible, California-based activists at Last Chance for Animals (LCA). In addition to distorting reality about Marineland, LCA appears opposed to household pets, sharing other outlandish ‘facts’ that include, “In six years, one female dog can be the source of 67,000 puppies.”

Last Chance for Animals uses their so-called investigations to raise millions of dollars a year with claims like, “Your donation will keep LCA’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in the field uncovering animal abuse and cruelty.” According to their financial statements, LCA spends more on direct mail fundraisers than they do on ‘Investigations fees and expenses’, which represents less than five cents of every dollar they spend (approximately $91,000 per year of nearly $2 million spent).

The discredited former employee LCA is working with this time has made the impossible claim that each day they worked, they “discovered at least two dead land animals every shift, and often more.” If this were true, Marineland would have no land animals left in very short order. This alone should make the complainant completely unreliable.

He further claimed that Marineland’s land animals are allowed to “breed indiscriminately”, and that the park did not have a handle on when new animals were born or died. Considering animals are segregated for breeding and the park provides appropriate seven days per week care to our land animals, this further demonstrates the lack of credibility this individual has. Besides daily monitoring by Marineland staff, the park is subject to regular and unscheduled OSPCA visits, surprise inspections, CAZA inspections, and several veterinary visits each week.

Yet LCA and animal rights activist/Canadian Press reporter Liam Casey have chosen to give non-credible, agenda-driven characters a megaphone to spread lies about Marineland, so here we are.

After how quickly the OSPCA dismissed their last bizarre round of attacks and untruths about Marineland relating to our marine mammal population, it is no wonder they chose not to issue a press release with these allegations. Marineland is confident again that LCA’s latest agenda-driven complaint against Marineland will be proven false.

Marineland intends to vigorously defend ourselves against these charges laid by the OSPCA, that we believe were driven by activists targeting the OSPCA for failing to find fault in how our park operates when past baseless claims have been made.

Today Marineland is providing detailed information on a number of species that call Marineland home, in an effort to provide interested members of the media and the public the opportunity to access the undistorted truth about our park.

‘Petey’ the Peacock

The disgruntled employee provided a picture to Canadian Press that we cannot verify the accuracy of, particularly due to LCA’s previous use of footage we believe to have been photoshopped, altered and distorted. The complainant “alleges the growth is a severe infection and the bird never received medical attention.” This is a lie and represents a false accusation of criminal animal cruelty. In reality, one of our peacocks had a harmless growth, comparable to a cyst, by the bird’s right eye. It remained healthy overall, continued to eat well and interact with other peacocks at the park.

The OSPCA ordered a vet to examine the bird within two weeks of their visit and for the park to follow the vet’s recommendations. This peacock was recommended to be euthanized, but it was saved when the vet determined later that they would be able to remove the growth.

The full story on Petey the Peacock and images can be found here:
http://www.marinelandblog.ca/a-peacock-tale-s…arineland-animal/


Bears

The dismissed employee made a number of claims about bears, and even provided the Canadian Press with a video of a bear defecating, shot from about eighty feet away, claiming “the former employee says the bears suffer from chronic diarrhea.”

They also claimed Marineland feeds bears food stored with carcasses, rotten or mouldy food and occasionally produce stickers.

We’ve prepared a detailed response on these allegations, including the general consistency of their stool (not something we expected to write about, but hey, Canadian Press asked!). We’ve included photos and videos of our bears that demonstrate their health.

http://www.marinelandblog.ca/edible-stickers-…constitute-abuse/ ‎


Guinea Fowl

Marineland is home to a wide range of marine mammal and land animal species and has recently begun acquiring various bird species as part of expansion plans that will include new exhibits focused on, you guessed it, birds.

While we construct a purpose built facility, Marineland is providing on-site care for these birds in one of the employee-only areas of the park. Of several thousands of birds at Marineland, less than a handful of these birds required any veterinarian attention, which they promptly received.

Reach more about birds at Marineland here:
http://www.marinelandblog.ca/guinea-fowl-and-other-avians/ ‎

Elk, Red Deer and Fallow Deer

Marineland is home to nearly one thousand members of the broader deer family including elks, red deer and fallow deer. Marineland being home to these animals allows people who would not get to experience them in the wild learn from them at our park.

We’ve provided a medical update on our herds to address completely bizarre mortality numbers provided to the media by a former employee.

Read more about our elk, red deer and fallow deer here:
http://www.marinelandblog.ca/red-deer-america…-and-fallow-deer/

Food Preparation and Storage for Bears

Perhaps the most desperate claims made against Marineland involve claims that at our park we feed our bears rotten fish and spoiled produce and dog food that we store with the remains of animals who are no longer with us.

Despite bears being attracted to rotting flesh and garbage in the wild, we do far better by them at Marineland. Our bears have spring water pumped into their enclosure on a constant basis, with this water flushing through their area and into Marineland’s river system. We are proud of the quality of water provided to our animals.

Canadian Press has been given a video that depicts the inside of Marineland’s morgue, a walk-in freezer where animal carcasses are stored until they are buried. This is a best practice that every veterinarian employs when dealing with the remains of household pets as well. The video also shows dog food that is being stored in the same facility for disposal.

For more on what Marineland feeds our bears and our animal burial practices, please click the link below:
http://www.marinelandblog.ca/food-preparation…neland-for-bears/

Where Marineland’s Animals Go To Rest

Veterinarians offices, human and animal hospitals, zoos, aquaria and marine parks all have an obligation to find ways to safely store remains of those who have passed away in their care until a burial or cremation can be arranged. Unlike humans, unless by special request, animals are typically buried together, when there is a sufficient number to bury to do so. Until that time, these animals, whether at a zoo, aquaria, marine park or your neighbourhood vet’s office, are stored in some form of freezer to prevent decomposition.

Marineland is no different. Our park has a certificate of approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change which allows us to bury the remains of our animals on site.

The freezer Marineland uses for this purpose is larger than it needs to be, and occasionally has been used to store other organic material that needs to be disposed of, and is best kept in a controlled environment like this room provides. It appears the storage of bags of dog food intended to be disposed of (and since removed) has been claimed to be kept in there as bear food.

The same video used to make this allegation shows where our bear food is being prepared and the disgruntled employee in question is only able to spot bulk produce and fish.

A Further Update on Gia — a beautiful four-year-old whale, activists continue to lie about.

Last Chance for Animals has been fundraising off the backs of our beluga whales since October 2013, failing to ever prove a single claim they’ve made. While attempting to damage our reputation by investing in public relations attacks led to a brief media splash in early 2016, an OSPCA investigation did not find any truth to what LCA had said.

This makes sense when you consider the source lives four thousand kilometres from the park and relies on non-experts to diagnose complex species with poor quality images and video we believe they simply distort when reality doesn’t fit the fundraising letter/narrative.

What is most disappointing is how LCA took a compelling story about a whale who would have died in the wild, and is only alive because of the dedication of our marine mammal team, and turned it into a sordid tale that requires a total contempt for the truth to weave together.

We forcefully responded when they did this and are sharing it again, because this week LCA brought up their lies about our whales again in a Toronto Star interview.

Find more on Gia, including images from November 30, 2016 below:
http://www.marinelandblog.ca/gia-and-the-lca/

 

A Peacock Tale: Slated for Euthanasia, Surgery Saves Marineland Animal

Petey the peacock after surgery, November 29, 2016

Petey the peacock after surgery, November 29, 2016

Two OSPCA charges against Marineland related to a single peacock shows the danger of judgements from afar, after a growth that appeared to be life-threatening turned out to be benign.

During its inspection of Marineland on November 10, the OSPCA noted a growth near the right eye of a male peafowl and ordered the company to have the animal examined by a veterinarian and follow any recommended course of action within two weeks.

The animal did not appear to be in distress; it had been eating well and interacting normally with the flock. Marineland called in a local veterinarian to examine the peacock, and an initial examination on site suggested euthanasia was likely appropriate.  Marineland and the OSPCA were both notified of this decision.

In preparation for this procedure, however,  a closer examination was performed, and in the opinion of the veterinarian it appeared that the peacock may respond to medical treatment. The veterinary staff had become attached to the peacock at this point, even naming him “Petey”. Surgery was attempted and while the outcome was uncertain, the growth was successfully removed.  Petey the peacock is now showing good signs of recovery.

This situation is an excellent example of what comes from jumping to conclusions from a distance. If even a trained veterinarian, viewing an animal from close range, could mistakenly consider a benign growth to be something life threatening, then it calls into question the claims of activist groups diagnosing these animals from California.

Self-proclaimed experts have mistakenly reported the deaths of park animals which remain healthy to this day, and misdiagnosed pebbles in deer hooves as shoulder inflammations. They often catastrophize simple ailments or falsely infer terminal illnesses from unflattering photographs. Changes in body size that are routine seasonal changes become false evidence of abuse and mistreatment to agenda-driven activists seeking to raise funds from well-meaning but misinformed animal lovers.

Marineland continues to provide high quality care for its animals, and disputes the charges levelled against it.

 

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.

Guinea Fowl and other Avians

Many people are surprised to learn that Marineland contains both marine and land animals, but that has been true since the very beginning of the park. Plans have been underway to bring in a third element, with the introduction of avian or bird species. While these plans are not yet ready for the public, the animals are subject to examination by the OSPCA and are provided care through veterinary services.

During their recent visit, the OSPCA inspectors entered a guinea fowl pen. Guinea Hens, like any wild bird, did not respond well to the sudden entrance into their enclosure of four OSPCA staff, of which just one was a trained veterinarian. The OSPCA expressed their desire that more space be given to the Hens. Marineland has provided an additional area for the Guinea Hens to shelter.

Upon later inspection by the veterinarian Marineland brought in to ensure the park followed the OSPCA orders, one guinea hen was culled due to lameness, while the rest of the grasps, comprising roughly 175 fowl, are normal and healthy.

Among the other birds at Marineland, two turkeys of the flock of 80 were culled due to dyspnea [laboured breathing] after exertion, and no problems were found among the approximately 2,500 pheasants housed in four separate outdoor pens with shelters.

Together with the report on Petey the Peacock, there were no other findings related to the various avian species at Marineland. Among the several thousands of birds, only these isolated few have required veterinary attention. Marineland continues to provide quality care to all its marine, land, and avian animals.

The OSPCA failed to return to Marineland to determine whether their orders had been implemented before choosing to lay charges.

 

Red Deer, American Elk, and Fallow Deer

Red Deer 3The benefit of relying on veterinarians instead of amateur video collected by individuals with axes to grind and an agenda to promote is we have the facts.

Do animals die at Marineland? Sadly yes. Is it because of neglect, cruelty or inhumane treatment? Never. Here is some information on the bulk of our land animal groups at Marineland.

Marineland has a herd of approximately 200 Red Deer. Three deer were culled as part of the normal and humane process that we are all familiar with, when a family pet reaches a stage of health or age that leads us to the sad but necessary conclusion that putting our friend to sleep is in its best interests.  That is not abuse it is mercy and an act of kindness.

We also have a herd of approximately 40 American Elk. No problems are reported with this herd, and all have acceptable body condition according to veterinary examination. They are neither underweight nor overweight, as either condition would negatively affect their health. In addition, we have a herd of approximately 400 fallow deer, and again no problems are reported with this herd.

Of the nearly 650 elk and deer at Marineland, a total of three had medical conditions and had to be culled from the herd. These species often live for 20 years, so it is only natural at any time for a few individuals to be of an advanced age. As well, mild injuries often take place during mating season. 

Part of the goal of parks like Marineland is to bring urban dwellers into contact with these animals so they can learn and understand them better. That way, they will see the natural life cycle of these animals, from birth through adult life, their reproductive customs, seasonal variations and actions, and eventual old age. They will see how they naturally interact as much as possible.

Minor injuries will normally take place within a herd of deer. When these injuries or other conditions result in distress to the animal, we provide the required medical care to relieve distress with the goal of returning the animal back to the herd. 

Food Preparation at Marineland For Bears

Black bears at Marineland, November 29, 2016

Black bears at Marineland, November 29, 2016

Despite allegations that Marineland stores food in our land animal morgue, in reality this is completely untrue. The Canadian Press has footage that shows none of the dog food in the food preparation area, and none of the actual food fed to bears in the land animal morgue.

We feed our bears a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and fish. We are able to secure human grade produce for our bears, that is past its best before date, but not expired — and our team manually sorts through this food, removing any pieces that appear mouldy, discoloured or otherwise unfit for bears. The fish is sourced from the marine mammal kitchen on the other side of the park and brought over in buckets, just prior to the bears being fed so it can be prepared with the rest of their daily meal.

The produce in the images is awaiting preparation. Like every food pantry or refrigerator, the produce is in its original packaging from the food supply service. The next stage will require employees to trim, cull, select, and prepare the produce for the bears, then mix and portion the food servings to ensure they receive a balanced diet. Any inedible, spoiled, or otherwise unacceptable elements would be removed for disposal at this point.

As for the final disposition of the diet we serve at Marineland, the complainant claimed the majority of our bears suffer from chronic diarrhea, something that is absolutely false. There are no bears at Marineland suffering from unaddressed diarrhea, and to suggest spring water and human grade fish and produce are causing gastro issues for animals known to be attracted to rotting flesh and garbage in the wild is preposterous. As with all the other claims by Last Chance for Animals, this scatological allegation is not worth further consideration.

 

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.

 

Check Out This Video About Marineland’s Beluga Whales!

The marine mammal caregivers at Marineland know the animals well. For example, one caregiver, Tali, has worked with a beluga whale for seven years. “To see him going from this younger animal, who was just learning to do things, to this animal who has a huge behavioral repertoire, is really fascinating” said Tali.

The video shows our caregivers and belugas during one of their husbandry training sessions. The husbandry behaviours taught to our marine mammals include presenting their fins or mouth for inspection. Learning and practising these behaviours make the animal more comfortable when it’s time for our veterinarians to examine them or carry out a necessary medical procedure.

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:

 

 

Do You Know How Playful Walruses Are?

Dan Macdonald, a marine mammal caregiver at Marineland explains, “A lot of the behind the scene care for walruses is play.”

Walruses are social and love to play together. They have even more fun if toys are incorporated. Now, what toys does a walrus like? Balls, huge logs and icebergs are the current favourites!

The walruses have their own community and can be selective about whom they want to spend time with. For example, Dan Macdonald explains, “Sonja really likes to live and be with Buttercup. So, when we get a chance to, we make sure they get to spend as much time as possible with each other.”

Now isn’t that cute? Check out the video here: