Marineland Sues Ontario SPCA for Trying to ‘Destroy’ Theme Park

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For many years, advocates have voiced their concerns about the welfare of the captive animals at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

In November 2016, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) filed five charges against Marineland in regard to the theme park’s failure to provide prescribed standards of care for its bears, guinea hens and a . Two months later, the OSPCA filed six additional animal cruelty charges related to the treatment of the park’s elk, and .

Marineland called the charges a “publicity campaign at the behest of a band of discredited activists with little relevant expertise or knowledge.”

All 11 animal cruelty charges were dismissed in August by the Crown in Provincial Offences Court, which said there was no “reasonable prospect” of conviction for eight of the charges and the other three were “not in the public’s interest” to pursue. But when the OSPCA conducted a surprise inspection of Marineland a week after the charges were dropped, it said it found 11 items requiring action regarding the park’s veterinarians, according to the Niagara Falls Review.

Photo credit: Robert Dewar

Marineland issued a statement saying the OSPCA’s inspection found “no signs of abuse, distress, mistreatment or neglect” of its animals.

Two months after the surprise inspection, Marineland has filed a $21 million lawsuit against the OSPCA on the grounds of malicious prosecution, negligent investigation, injurious falsehood, and abuse of power and process. It alleges that the animal charity “maliciously targeted the theme park in order to curry favor with animal rights activists and boost fundraising,” CBC reports.

The OSPCA’s purpose in filing the animal cruelty charges “was not the enforcement of the law,” according to Marineland’s statement of claim. “It was motivated by a series of improper objectives, including a desire to accomplish its own policy agenda, to mollify the animal activist community, to please its donors, and to effectively destroy Marineland.”

In a statement, the OSPCA said it “vehemently denies all of the allegations and will defend itself.”


Marineland is “notorious for suing anyone who opposes its cruel facility,” according to In Defense of Animals, which ranked the park at No. 2 on its list of the 10 Worst Tanks for Dolphins and Whales.

In the past five years alone, Marineland has filed 10 lawsuits, including the following:

  • In 2012, Marineland filed a $7 million libel lawsuit against the Toronto Star for its investigative report about the neglect and mistreatment of animals at the theme park.
  • In 2013, Marineland filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against former employee Phil Demers for “plotting to steal a ” after he spoke out against the park’s treatment of animals. It also sued animal activist Mike Garrett for $1.5 million after a series of protests.
  • In 2014, Marineland filed $1.2 million in defamation lawsuits against the Digital Journal and The Georgia Straight for publishing stories about the death of sea lions at the theme park and the health of Kiska, its last remaining .
  • Last year, Marineland sued marine biology student Zach Affolter for $1 million because he used images “illegally taken” inside the park in his documentary, “Black Water.” Marineland said the film would “secure income for animal activist organizations and, as such, is for a commercial purpose.” Marineland is never mentioned in the film, which Affolter had intended to post on YouTube for an educational purpose.

None of the lawsuits have been settled. Marineland is “leveraging the publicly funded court system in an attempt to silence any criticism they don’t like about their facility,” Garrett said in 2014.

And now Marineland wants a whopping $21 million from a charity that protects animals. Hopefully a judge will have the good sense to toss this frivolous lawsuit. There are probably 21 million better ways all that money can be used to help animals instead of putting it in Marineland’s pocket.

This article was first published by on 03 Nov 2017.


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3 thoughts to “Marineland Sues Ontario SPCA for Trying to ‘Destroy’ Theme Park”

  1. How very psychopathically Trumpian of Marineland..
    Are there effective efforts to end their profiting from cruelty, persecution, and lifelong incarceration for the crime of being born into the most intelligent species in Earth’s oceans, and convincingly arguably of all earth?

  2. I agree with Isa – I have given up hope for the human race! We are the top predator on the planet and as such, we exploit and degrade every other species, including our own. We think nothing of destroying whole eco-systems and everything contained therein, to suit our own needs. I am distressed and disgusted by humans who have no compassion towards the other life forms on this earth, and who use them solely for capital gain or amusement. We shall reap the whirlwind in that we shall destroy our home on Palent Earth and therefore ourselves!

  3. As a child disgusted and outraged by the captivity , rather than amused at age 10 by a Marineland show, The sickening feeling of the imprisonment of animals more dependent upon freedom itself than are our sheltering species has stayed with me for a lifetime.
    Reading this, we can hopefully see (even though I had always taken the agnostic view of human politics) how capitalism itself operates violently toward all the life of earth.

    I often try to develop an apologia for the human species, but when reading this, realize that there may be neither hope nor excuse for our species’ persistence. The only tolerant answer seems to be: abolish all forced confinement or exploitation in any way not necessary for individual survival, of any other organism on earth.
    I’ve stared into subsequently doomed rats’ eyes, knowing how they have been tested and found to refuse food if it harms another rat in their presence. I challenge a human to successfully show such morality.

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