Marineland Faces Criminal Charge For Illegal Cetacean Shows

Marineland has been charged under the federal Criminal Code for forcing cetaceans to perform in shows for entertainment, following a legal complaint filed by Animal Justice.

Since 2019, it has been a criminal offence to force whales and dolphins to perform tricks for entertainment purposes. The offence was created when Canada passed Bill-203—a groundbreaking law that aims to phase out whale and dolphin captivity, and to protect the well-being of already-captive whales and dolphins in this country.

Videos recorded by Marineland attendees in 2020 and 2021 showed dolphins performing in front of a live audience. The daily spectacle, which was branded as an “educational presentation” included constantly blaring pop music, dolphins performing tricks such as flipping through the air and pushing trainers through the water, and even a “dolphin dance party”.

Animal Justice lawyers filed a legal complaint with law enforcement authorities over the performances, asking them to investigate and take action to enforce Canada’s newly-amended Criminal Code.

Authorities are also currently investigating Marineland over the welfare of lone orca Kiska, after Animal Justice lawyers submitted a legal complaint regarding shocking new videos of Kiska floating listlessly and slamming her body against the wall of her tank. It’s illegal under federal and provincial law to cause animals to suffer physical or emotional distress.

Kiska was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1979 and has spent over 40 years in captivity. She’s been completely alone in her tank at Marineland for more than 10 years, and has been called “the world’s loneliest orca” by experts. 

After Marineland closed for the season in October of this year. Multiple sources have indicated that the notorious marine park is up for sale. In fact, some have suggested that it may never reopen in its current form.

Animal Justice will continue to monitor the situation closely at Marineland to protect its captive whales and dolphins, while supporting the whale sanctuary that is planned in Nova Scotia by the Whale Sanctuary Project.  When it opens, the seaside sanctuary will offer captive whales and dolphins better life, and it is our hope that Kiska and other animals currently held at Marineland will ultimately be transferred there to live out their days at the sanctuary.

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