Marineland in Canada accused of using whales in shows
TORONTO (AP) – Marineland has been charged with allegedly using dolphins and whales for entertainment, a charge denied by the southern Ontario tourist attraction.
Niagara Regional Police said they opened an investigation in October into the park’s use of cetaceans in shows. This flies in the face of laws passed in 2019 that criminalized the performance of dolphins and whales, under the Canadian government’s anti-captivity legislation.
“During the investigation, it was discovered that dolphins and whales had been used for entertainment purposes during the month of August without being allowed to do so,” the force said in a written statement.
Marineland faces one count of using a captive cetacean for entertainment without permission, police said.
The park has denied the allegations. He said the dolphins and whales were part of an educational presentation designed by experts.
“Our animal presentation contains marine mammals adopting behaviors that they exhibit in oceanic environments,” Marineland said in a statement.
“These behaviors are combined with an instructional script delivered by Marineland staff, providing a foundation for understanding these important marine species.”
Marineland blamed the accusation on “ideologically motivated activists” who filed a complaint with the police.
Last Chance for Animals, a California-based animal rights group, said it filed a complaint in late September and an investigator working for the group made a statement to police in late October.
“We are delighted,” Miranda Desa, Canadian lawyer for the nonprofit group, said of the accusation.
Desa said the group’s investigator visited Marineland on August 3 and 9 and filmed dolphins and whales. She alleged that dolphins were seen “doing flips, spinning, hosting a dolphin dance party and performing other custom tricks to music in front of a live audience.”
Marineland said he would fight the charge.