The rumours are true. As reported by the Canadian Press, Marineland has registered to lobby the Ontario government with the goal of selling the business, and wants taxpayer cash handouts.
In the Ontario lobbyist registry, the notorious aquarium’s legal representative stated that their goal for lobbying politicians is:
“Sale of Marineland of Canada Inc. Potential zoning changes to the property to permit development. Potential financial support and tax relief for Park development of its operations. Potential requests for relief from taxation in connection with economic development of the tourism development proposal.”
Whatever the future holds for Marineland, we believe the only future for the park is in embracing animal-free tourist entertainment. The park is a nightmare for animals and has a long history of troubling animal welfare violations and cruelty charges.
In 2021, Marineland was charged criminally for forcing dolphins to perform for entertainment, despite a national ban on the practice, after Animal Justice filed a legal complaint with authorities. In 2017, the marine park also faced 11 provincial charges of animal cruelty and neglect involving land and marine mammals. Unfortunately, prosecutors dropped all charges against the marine park in both instances, citing a lack of “public interest”.
Provincial authorities are currently monitoring Marineland over the well-being of lone orca Kiska after Animal Justice lawyers submitted a legal complaint over footage of her floating listlessly and slamming her body against the side of her tank. And in 2021, authorities issued multiple corrective orders against Marineland, after a lengthy investigation determined that marine mammals at the facility were in distress due to poor water quality.
In 2022, Animal Justice released a shocking zoo exposé, which found bears at Marineland, who are solitary by nature, forced into confinement together at the park. We observed that some bears had suffered facial injuries, and caught employees admitting on-camera that it was due to fighting.
Whatever the state of Marineland’s finances may be, the park doesn’t deserve tax cuts or other public funding. Animal Justice instead believes it should make reparations to the animals it has cruelly confined for profit over the years. The Whale Sanctuary Project is building an open-water, seaside sanctuary for whales and dolphins by netting off a large cove in Nova Scotia. These captive animals may not be equipped to be released into the wild, but a cove sanctuary would allow them to enjoy life in an environment as close as possible to their natural habitat, and with much, much more space than they have in aquariums.
Marineland has generated millions of dollars from displaying whales and dolphins over the course of many decades. Instead of sponging off of taxpayers, it’s time for the company to atone for their captivity programs by financially supporting sanctuaries that are working to provide a better home for captive whales and dolphins.