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Marineland charged with using dolphins and whales for unauthorized performances

Click to play video: 'Animal rights activist explains why her group is ‘very pleased’ to see Marineland facing charges'
Animal rights activist explains why her group is ‘very pleased’ to see Marineland facing charges
WATCH: Animal rights activist explains why her group is 'very pleased' to see Marineland facing charges – Dec 13, 2021

Police in Niagara Falls charged Marineland in an investigation where it’s alleged the theme park used animals for a park performance without authorization.

Niagara Regional Police (NRPS) say the probe started in October and is tied to a summer display that investigators believe violated the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act.

“During the investigation, it was found that dolphins and whales were utilized for entertainment purposes during the month of August, without being authorized to do so following an amendment to the Criminal Code under Bill S-203 on June 21, 2019,” NRPS said in a statement.

On Friday, advocacy group Animal Justice claimed Marineland was being investigated after the group’s lawyers filed a legal complaint over concerns that the marine park’s dolphin performances violated the Criminal Code.

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The group’s allegations state the dolphin shows at the park featured pop music, animals performing tricks and staff encouraging cheering from spectators.

“Authorities must step in to investigate whether Marineland’s dolphin performances violate federal laws protecting dolphins from being forced to participate in demeaning performances,” Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, said in a release on Oct. 6.

Labchuk told Global News on Monday that the protection agency is concerned for the well-being of animals still at the park amid rumours that the Marineland is up for sale to a real estate developer.

“We’re calling on the provincial and federal governments to get involved in this situation and do what they can to make sure these animals go to a sanctuary, if Marineland is sold,” Labchuk said.

“And that they don’t end up at another marine park where they will be exploited for entertainment.”

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In a release, Marineland told Global News that their presentations are for “educational” purposes and were “designed by experts to provide Canadians with an accessible opportunity to learn about marine life.”

They also said the displays undertook “behaviours they exhibit in ocean environments.”

“We look forward to the opportunity to defend ourselves in a court of law where the feelings of non-experts are not treated as facts and the truth prevails,” the release said.

Previously, Marineland legal counsel told Global they would not be commenting on questions regarding the potential sale of the facility.

Lawyers are expected to appear in a St. Catharines court on Feb. 14, 2022 to represent the park in the latest legal action.

Marineland could face a fine of up to $200,000, according to the act.

 

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