Marineland says OSPCA investigation is the result of former employee, activist pressure
Marineland says OSPCA investigated the amusement park only because of pressure from an animal rights group.
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OSPCA doesn’t do our bidding, said Adam Wilson, director of investigations at Last Chance for Animals (LCA).
LCA does not create laws or standards for animal care, Wilson said. All that the non-profit asks is for enforcement of existing laws, he said.
“If Marineland considers this a radical agenda then their standards of care must be below that of what Ontario thinks is appropriate for exhibitors of animals,” he said.
Marineland’s statement Tuesday pointed to a past investigation carried out by LCA that is not connected to the current animal cruelty charges.
Wilson explained that while Marineland said in the release that LCA made “grossly false allegations in the past including alleging the death of a baby beluga who is currently happy, healthy, and alive. It also appears they distorted and/or photoshopped images to create false images to allege abuse,” the Niagara Falls-based amusement park is referring to two separate incidents.
First, LCA conducted a five-month investigation of Marineland over the summer and fall of 2015, where a baby beluga named Gia was filmed, Wilson said. The beluga was in an emaciated condition where her ribs could be seen, he described.
“She was kept by herself and further videos that we provided to OSPCA documented her over many weeks where you could see her ribs and she was in an almost skeletal condition,” he said. “We never made the allegation that Gia died.”
Another beluga born and died during the time of LCA’s investigation, Wilson said.
“The trick with Marineland is that they don’t keep track of the animal deaths and don’t report the animal deaths,” he said. “So that was just hidden from the public — a baby beluga was born and then died later on and there’s no record of it.”
Marineland does not have a set policy on announcing the births or deaths of animals at Marineland, the amusement park told Torstar News Service.
Marineland’s statement attempts to explain the basis of the animal cruelty charges which include one count of permitting a peacock to be in distress; one count for failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care for a peacock; two counts for failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care for guinea hens; and one count for failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care including failing to provide adequate and appropriate food and water for approximately 35 American black bears.
“We have previously outlined the basis of the allegations of abuse – that some edible produce stickers have accidentally been left on the fresh fruit and vegetables provided to our bears, that our guinea fowl pens were too small, and there was a benign growth over the eye of the peacock – and all of these issues have been corrected and the animals continue to thrive,” the statement says.
Marineland’s board of directors face a $60,000 fine, up to two years in jail and a lifetime ban on owning animals.
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