TORONTO—Animal Justice has filed a new complaint with Niagara Police after Marineland used dolphins in performances over the May long weekend, as it opened for the season in Niagara Falls. The notorious marine park is already facing a criminal charge for unlawfully using dolphins in shows, which carries a fine of up to $200,000 upon conviction.
Animal Justice obtained footage of dolphins once again being used in performances over the weekend, including trainers clapping to the beat of high-energy pop music, dolphins pushing a trainer through the water, and dolphins performing various tricks including jumping and flipping through the air. Audience members can be heard screaming and clapping in response to the tricks.
It has been illegal since 2019 to use whales and dolphins for entertainment in Canada, after Parliament passed groundbreaking new laws aimed at phasing out whale and dolphin captivity nationwide. It is now illegal for Marineland to obtain any new whales or dolphins, breed the ones already held in captivity, and use whales and dolphins in performances for entertainment.
The new law did not stop Marineland from holding dolphin and beluga shows, describing them as “educational performances”. Animal Justice filed a police complaint last year, and after the park closed for the season Niagara Police charged Marineland with unlawfully using dolphins in a performance for entertainment. Marineland was in court last week to face the charge, and will appear next on June 29, 2022.
“Authorities must investigate the brazen, ongoing dolphin shows at Marineland,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Canada passed new laws in 2019 aimed at protecting sensitive and intelligent dolphins from being forced to perform cheap tricks in demeaning performances, and those laws should be respected.”
Marineland has long been criticized for the conditions at its facility. Provincial animal welfare authorities issued multiple orders against Marineland last year, after a lengthy investigation determined that marine mammals at the facility were in distress due to poor water quality.
Authorities are also investigating a separate legal complaint filed by Animal Justice over the apparent distress and suffering experienced by Kiska, an orca whale confined by herself in a tank for the past decade. Multiple videos have shown Kiska floating listlessly, thrashing her body against the side of her tank, and swimming endlessly in circles. It is unlawful under both federal and provincial law to cause suffering or distress to an animal, including psychological suffering or distress.
For more information, contact:
Camille Labchuk, Executive Director