The marine park industry is a billion dollar industry that for decades has hidden a mountain of ugly truths behind a squeaky clean image of the friendly performing whale Shamu. These parks are banking millions of dollars in profits every year from thousands of customers who remain ignorant to what goes on behind the scenes, but the time of ignorance is slowly coming to an end.
In the past year, the business practices of Marineland have come under scrutiny after the Toronto Star released an expose on the treatment of their animals. The information provided in the expose came straight from former employees of Marineland with photographic evidence. I was horrified by the stories, though I’d already known for years prior that Marineland was a horrible place. When I heard that CAZA and the OSPCA would be conducting an investigation I thought to myself this is it; Marineland will finally be fully exposed for what it really is.
That didn’t happen and I couldn’t tell you why because there is copious amounts of proof displaying what kind of facility Marineland is.
After that disappointment, I was glad to see that some people weren’t going to be silenced and were going to make it their duty to educate people about this issue. I stumbled across the Marineland Animal Defense and shared their page with my good friend Stephanie. She saw that they were doing a demonstration at Marineland on June 23rd and asked if I wanted to go and see what it was all about. So we packed up some snacks, water, and sunscreen and drove the one hour to Niagara to check it out.
As we stood out in front of the park and protested several disgruntled people shouted at us to get a life. Steph said that yelling at us to get a life just reminded her of the reason why we were there; to give a voice to those animals who no longer have a life or any semblance of one. She couldn’t have said it any better.
The highlight of the day was watching a man who drove into the Marineland parking lot, hesitated as he watched us, then turned his car around displaying a thumbs up to the protestors as he exited Marineland. Changing one man’s mind about supporting Marineland wiped out all the negativity from those who tried to break our spirit. It’s important to keep perspective and remember that even just one person standing up for what they believe in can make a difference. If no one ever fought the system things like women having the vote would have never come to pass.
I first fell in love with whales, as thousands of children all over the world did, watching the film Free Willy. To this day orcas are my favourite animal. They are absolutely majestic, complex and fascinating mammals. I have spent countless hours of my time over the years researching and watching documentaries about them, which also sparked my interest in learning about other whales and cetaceans.
Through my endless research I learned what an injustice it is to keep animals in captivity. I could honestly write a blog post for days packed with information including articles, testimonials from experts, hours upon hours of video that could prove to anyone undoubtedly that captivity is wrong but then you would be here reading for days. Instead, I urge you to take the time to do your own research. I promise you what you find will shock you.
The most important thing that people need to do is educate themselves about this issue. If everyone knew the cold, ugly truth Marineland and other places like it would no longer exist. I have faith that one day, hopefully soon as others join the cause, enough people will stand up for the injustice that those animals face and put a stop to it.
If you would like to learn more about cetaceans in captivity or about cetaceans in general leave a comment and I can recommend some excellent resources. If you are a supporter of this cause, please go like Marineland Animal Defense on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
image1 from torontosun.com
image2 from thestar.com