Marineland Is Under Investigation Over Dolphin Shows That May Be Illegal

Marineland is being investigated by the Ontario police after the lawyers at Animal Justice filed a legal complaint over concerns that the marine park’s dolphin performances violate the Criminal Code.

In 2019, Canada outlawed the captivity of whales and dolphins. The new law includes a ban on breeding these animals and using them in demeaning shows for entertainment.

But despite this law, Marineland continued to run daily shows with the dolphins in front of a live audience. Branded as “educational presentations”, the shows featured energetic pop music, a “dolphin dance party” to songs including “Mambo Number 5” and a range of tricks including synchronized flips and jumps, having the dolphins “wave” at the audience with their tails, and pushing trainers through the water. During the shows, the spectators were encouraged to clap along and cheer to encourage the dolphins to perform.

After receiving footage of the performances, Animal Justice filed a legal complaint with provincial authorities in October. We asked authorities to investigate to determine if putting on these shows violates Canada’s newly amended Criminal Code.

This summer, Animal Justice also filed a legal complaint with provincial authorities over the welfare of Kiska, the last remaining captive orca whale in Canada, who has been confined at Marineland in a concrete tank all by herself for over a decade. This follows the release of shocking footage of Kiska floating listlessly in her tank, and showing her apparently bashing her head against the wall of her enclosure.

In October, Marineland closed for the season, but numerous sources have confirmed that the notorious marine park is up for sale. It is unclear whether it will re-open for another season in 2022 or what will happen to the animals held at the park if it is sold.

Marineland still has over 50 cetaceans in its tanks, including belugas, dolphins, and lone orca Kiska. Our lawyers will continue working to protect these animals and to ensure that as many animals as possible from the facility will be transferred to the Whale Sanctuary Project’s seaside sanctuary currently under construction in Nova Scotia. Allowing Kiska and other cetaceans at Marineland to spend the rest of their lives at a sanctuary is the best possible outcome for these intelligent, social animals.

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