Marineland, a popular amusement park nestled by Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, is now under a magnifying glass as charges surface over its questionable handling of captive black bears. Animal rights activists, who have long been rallying to close the park due to alleged mistreatment of its captive animals, find new fuel for their fight.
Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General announced the charges recently, marking a fresh wave of controversy for the park. The charges imply Marineland’s failure to abide by an order concerning the well-being of their American black bears, although specifics of the infractions were not detailed.
The history of animal care concerns at Marineland runs deep. In 2016, five counts of cruelty were laid against the park, with allegations of inadequate food and water provision for its 35 American black bears. The following year, six more cruelty charges were added to the tally.
Public outrage was rekindled just two months ago when Kiska, Marineland’s last captive orca, and the so-called “world’s loneliest orca,” succumbed to a bacterial infection after a 40-year stay at the park. With Kiska’s passing, concerns over Marineland’s captive beluga whales have intensified, especially since some of these whales were recently sold to American aquariums for so-called “research purposes”.
Marineland was previously accused of contravening a federal law prohibiting cetacean captivity by using dolphins and whales for entertainment. The charges were stayed in December 2022, but it’s clear that the park is still under scrutiny.
As we journey towards a more sustainable and compassionate future, the ethical treatment of animals, especially those in captivity, is a significant concern. As patrons and citizens, we must demand higher standards of care for these creatures. Our collective voices can contribute to better futures for all living beings. So, next time you plan a fun day out, think about the kind of institutions you’re supporting and choose responsibly. Your actions can make a big difference!
This article by Nicholas Vincent was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 3 June 2023.
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