After 12 years of working at Marineland as an animal trainer, I made the difficult decision to quit and speak out about the deplorable conditions and neglect I witnessed. I saw dolphins living in extremely poor quality water, their skin flaking off in chunks, and six out of seven harbour seals becoming blind or suffering severe eye damage. A baby beluga named “Skoot” died last month after being attacked by other belugas in a pool she should have never been forced into.
Many people are appalled. Many are calling for Marineland to be closed, however what most don't know is that Ontario has no laws controlling aquariums and zoos, or protecting the animals inside. Without those laws no one will be able to save the animals of Marineland.
Marineland is a major tourist destination for Canadians, Americans, and people from many other countries. The lack of animal protection laws in Ontario are a sore spot that need addressing. We need people from around the globe signing and sharing this petition to help make the Ontario Government aware of these gross injustices towards animals.
I'm asking Premier Kathleen Wynne's Government to pass a new law that will regulate a high standard of care for animals in aquariums and zoos, and will provide an opportunity to close places like Marineland when they don’t comply. During the past 20 years there have been many attempts to help the animals at Marineland, but these attempts have never turned into real Government action.
I'm also asking Marineland owner John Holer to allow me to visit Smooshi the Walrus who depends on me for care.
Please sign and share so this can never happen again at Marineland or anywhere else.
It’s time we speak for the animals!
Dear Premier Wynne,
We are calling on you to develop strong laws and regulations to protect animals in Ontario's aquariums and zoos. We are horrified by recent reports alleging extreme neglect of the animals at Marineland. This is not the first time reports like these have surfaced, and unless your Government implements new regulations, it won't be the last.
What Ontario’s captive animals need is a tough system of licensing, standards and oversight, not just a one time inspection of one facility, like Marineland, because it's in the news.
The circumstances at Marineland highlighted in the media these past few days are nothing new and similarly bleak conditions are endured by a multitude of animals in other facilities across the province. The lack of protection for wildlife in captivity is a long-standing issue and has been recognized as a problem since the late 1970s. Since that time there have been bills introduced, study groups convened, internal government initiatives carried out, investigative reports released, tens of thousands of letters, postcards and emails submitted to government, and a broad range of other actions, but a succession of Ontario governments have turned a blind eye to the suffering.
In the Marineland case, while an SPCA inspection is welcome, there are no comprehensive, objective standards for the organization to enforce. The few standards that do exist under the OSPCA Act are vague and inadequate. And additional changes to the OSPCA Act, as suggested by one Minister, are welcome, but they are not the answer.
What Ontario needs to protect the animals at Marineland and all other facilities in the province is a tough, upfront regulatory system that requires permits, creates standards of animal management, care and safety that evolve with the times, incorporates punitive measures for non-compliance and that gives the public a legitimate way for their complaints to be considered and addressed. Models for this kind of regulatory system exist in other jurisdictions and they have already been developed in Ontario but never implemented. It’s time they were.
Please do the right thing and pass laws that will protect animals in Ontario's zoos and aquariums.