Marineland, in Niargra Falls, Ontario, has been the subject of intense public scrutiny following investigations that exposed horrifying treatment of its marine animals and later its land animals.
The controversy reached a much wider audience after the Toronto Star published a series of detailed articles about the suffering of the animals there in 2012. The facility has since faced ongoing public backlash. Further investigations have found not much has improved for either marine or land animals since then.
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Just weeks ago, the Ontario SPCA charged Marineland with five counts of animal cruelty related to the mistreatment of peacocks, guinea hens and black bears. This week, the organization filed six new animal cruelty charges, bringing the total up to 11.
The charges are a result of an ongoing investigation that was launched this past November, and the latest charges are related to the mistreatment of elk, red deer and fallow deer. According to the OSPCA, each of the charges are for failing to provide standard care and allowing animals to suffer in distress.
The OSPCA’s investigation was prompted by evidence collected by Last Chance for Animals (LCA). LCA had already uncovered shocking mistreatment of beluga whales at Marineland, and subsequently began gathering evidence of the mistreatment of land animals, which was turned over to the OSPCA.
According to LCA, many troubling problems related to the hundreds of deer Marineland keeps on display and on another lot away from the public, with no adequate shelter from the elements. The organization added:
Deer at Marineland were found suffering from undiagnosed injuries and infections, were visibly underweight, and were otherwise inadequately cared for. With no individual care being administered to the deer, LCA’s investigation uncovered that deer sometimes died on a daily basis. Marineland does not maintain any system to identify individual deer, nor do they keep birth or death records. In essence, Marineland is operating a deer factory in which sick and ailing deer are left to die without consequence, only to be replaced by their continual supply of newborn deer.
A court hearing is scheduled for January 26, where Marineland could potentially be faced with the maximum penalties for these charges, including a $60,000 fine, two years in jail, and, most importantly, a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Hopefully the court will come down hard on Marineland, but whatever the outcome of the case, we can also hope the renewed attention will help discourage people from visiting facilities that confine wild animals for nothing more than our amusement and profit.
For more info on this investigation and updates, check out Last Chance for Animals.
Photo credit: Last Chance for Animals/YouTube
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