BREAKING: Lawyers for #Marineland Canada are threatening to bring forward a Jane and John Doe Injunction to be heard before next weekend’s Empty the Tanks Demonstration. Stay tuned for updates. #OPSID
We are nearing very close to the 1 year anniversary of the public release of the Toronto Star investigative series on Marineland Canada Inc. With that in mind, and with the release of a news story today on Liberal Community and Correctional Services MPP Madeleine Meilleur we thought it would be worthwhile to compile a timeline of how she has dealt with this “controversy.”
August 15th 2012 - The Toronto Star unveils a new investigative series focusing on Marineland and ex-employee testimony.
August 16th 2012 - Maddy states that she supports an investigation and that the footage revealed left her “in tears.” She also cautions whistleblowers for supposedly not going through the proper channels with their complaints - to which point ex-employees have demonstrated how complaints have been received by the OSPCA and never investigated and how Marineland was frequently tipped off to such investigations in the past.
August 23rd 2012 - OSPCA investigation begins on site at Marineland. It is alleged that between the 15th and the 23rd many changes are made to the park.
August 24th 2012 - Maddy announces that she is trying to visit the park to "see for her own eyes." Releases statement that local Liberal Politican Kim Craitor says the park is a very good tourist attraction and adds “Zoos are very appealing to visitors and to public in general. Often it’s the only way they can see exotic animals – as long as (animals) are well treated and well cared for. As kids we enjoy going to the zoo, and I’m told Marineland’s parking lot is very full most of the time. That shows you that people love to go, and I am supportive of that. It’s a great tourist attraction – with the caveat that we need to be certain the animals are looked after.”
September 17th 2012 - Ex Employees, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo and Zoocheck Canada deliver a petition to Queen’s Park calling for regulation and reform for marine mammals. Dalton McGuinty hints that “we’re going to have to do something.” That petition calls for better treatment of captive marine mammals, but stops short of calling for an end to the industry or an end to wild capture.
October 4th 2012 - Both the OSCPA and the Canadian Association for Zoos and Aquariums announce faults they have found at the park. The OSPCA, however, claims publicly that all animals under vet care (Marineland has vets on payroll) are not subject to the investigation. Maddy combats this interpretation and says that all animals are subject to the investigation.
October 5th 2012 - Maddy meets with long time anti captivity advocate Ric O’Barry.
October 7th 2012 - Marineland Animal Defense organizes a closing day demonstration at Marineland Canada. That demonstration, estimated around 700-800 people, is remembered as hundreds broke away from the demonstration, entered the park and shut down the final dolphin show of the year. Earlier at that demonstration NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo announced her intent to bring forward a call for an end to the import and export for marine mammals in for-profit captive parks.
October 9th 2012 - On the first day back from the long weekend Maddy announces a press conference for the following day. On the 10th she announces a “three point plan” to address issues at Marineland and claims she will be going through consultation with various groups and the public. Vacant from her plan is any mention of the import and export of marine mammals. In response to her announcement - the OSPCA Chair Robert Godfrey calls for more funding and members from opposite parties call this out as a stall tactic.
October 10, 2012 - Marineland Animal Defense organizes a call-in/email/fax event to Maddy’s offices encouraging her to include an end to wild capture in her plans and issue an immediate moratorium on wild capture at least until the investigation is complete and changes are announced. Ex-trainer Phil Demers publicly called for supporters not to support this call-in and as a result Marineland Animal Defense cancelled the event. Not long after, Phil Demers met with Maddy to discuss the issue of Marineland.
October 15th, 2012 - Liberal Leader and Premier Dalton McGuinty steps down and prorogues Parliament. Maddy announces that she will still work on changes while Parliament is out as the Liberal Party finds a new leader. She claims she is already consulting with the “activists.” She continues to introduce a new “Spring” timeline for changes.
November 14th, 2012 - CAZA admits that Marineland Canada park owner John Holer is still attempting to acquire more animals even as the OSPCA investigation continues at the park. The need for a moratorium is clear, however, Maddy refuses to acknowledge it as a demand.
December 13th, 2012 - The first Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) is handed down to ex-trainer Christine Santos. That $1.25 million suit is soon followed with more suits - now totaling 6 suits - 2 against activists, 3 against ex-employees and 1 against the Toronto Star. Legislation against SLAPP suits was similarly stalled by McGuinty stepping down and Marineland used this as legal leverage. Since then, activists have have included demands for whistleblower protection from Maddy’s office.
December 20th, 2012 - As the result of being contacted by the Toronto Star, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) launches an investigation into Marineland and their burial practices. Marineland had been operating without a permit to bury animals on site.
December 26th, 2012 - The Toronto Star runs a story on the OSPCA/Maddy rift claiming that the Marineland investigation is "bogged down in a bureacratic battle."
Friday January 18th, 2013 - The Toronto Star is provided with leaked OSPCA orders placed on Marineland Canada. Maddy repeats the “Spring” timelines while an OSPCA investigator relays the OSPCA is “kind of out of its element” with Marineland. “We’re used to dealing with dogs and cats and a wide variety of farm issues.”
February 11th, 2013 - Kathleen Wynne is sworn in as Premier. The Legislature is soon after recalled.
March 14th-15th, 2013 - Marineland Animal Defense organizes a two day call-in/email/fax to Maddy’s office. Speaking directly with her aide Andrew Decaire he repeats the “Spring” timeline for changes, states that nothing is “off the table,” and also relays that Marineland Animal Defense is the only group who is putting wild capture on the table in consultation with Maddy’s office.
March 19th, 2013 - The OSPCA Chair Robert Godfrey explains the OSPCA orders placed against Marineland Canada. This story, and the previous story detailing the leaked information become part of a legal claim by Marineland against the Toronto Star.
April 30th, 2013 - The OPSCA relays that all orders against Marineland Canada have been complied with and their investigation is closed. This comes 8 months after the investigation began.
May 18th, 2013 - An estimated 1,000 people join a demonstration organized by Marineland Animal Defense on Marineland Canada’s opening day.
June 11th, 2013 - The Legislature recesses for the Summer.
July 9th, 2013 - Marineland Animal Defense announces that on September 9h, the re-opening of the Legislature, they will be holding a demonstration out front of Maddy’s office in Toronto. Prior to the announcement of the demonstration, calls were placed to Maddy’s office as to the progress of the “consultation.” Those calls were not returned.
July 18th, 2013 - The Toronto Star release a story with the headline "Ontario Overhauls Animal Welfare Laws." The only source for the story is Maddy, who relates that she has been working hard on the issue and that substantive change is coming. The announcement echoes the same press statements made by Maddy on October 10th, 2012: “standards of care, licensing, regulation,” and only introduces more funding and oversight for the OSPCA in trade for greater transparency. Specifics are not mentioned and it seems nothing new was developed after 9 months of “consultation” outside of providing the OSPCA with more funding. Wild capture moratorium is still not recognized. A new timeline of late September or early October is introduced, meaning that for the entire 2013 operating season Marineland was able to operate without any legislative change or regulation. Maddy was also still unsure of what changes could be introduced via regulation, or legislation. Maddy claims, “I wanted the partners fully involved in the consultative process.”
As we approach the 1-year anniversary of that investigation, it is clear that the winners will be those who have been fighting to keep animals in captivity. At every turn, attempts to bring forward substantive changes that would end, grandfather, or transition the industry have been ignored by Maddy’s office. She is content with hollow press statements, a hollow consultation process and with introducing basic regulation that will have little effect on how CAZA facilities like Marineland Canada operate. Throughout, Marineland Canada has still be able to legally import and export marine mammals for the sole purpose of profiting off of their captivity. They will continue to be allowed this practice, and any future attempts by employees to come forward and detail what the industry look like will only be tougher. This is no “overhaul”, this is an attempt to place a shiny band-aid on a festering wound that is growing larger and larger by the day.
For those who fight not for bigger tanks, but for no tanks at all, today is a day to redouble your efforts and commit to the long haul.
Community and Correctional Services Liberal MPP Madeleine Meilleur, "Maddy"
We have posted this previously, but will continue to post this agreement publicly so that members are aware of what legal agreements we have made with Marineland. The terms set above were terms which we set and delivered to Marineland in February 2013 and which Marineland agreed to in April 2013. We have not breached these terms and regardless of how Marineland Canada Inc. and John Holer carry themselves, we will continue to abide by these terms.
This is Duke, and when I first came here in 1991, it was really Duke that brought me here. Some undercover footage that Cara Sands shot inside the warehouse of Duke and all of the others.
You can see if you look closely, his face is all scarred up, you can see what they call rake marks, which is from biting and fighting. His eyes are damaged, his jaw is damaged. And we actually found a place in the Caicos Islands to rehabilitate Duke, and it wouldn’t have cost John Holer (owner of Marineland) anything. And he wouldn’t do it, he let Duke die here.
Niagara Falls, CANADA - Niagara Falls City Council has facilitated, protected and defended the practice of animal captivity at Marineland for over half a century. Shady land deals and leases, favorable tax breaks, evictions and free passes have been the norm. This list is a list of 8 demands to see a reversal of this history and it is a list of demands that the M.A.D. campaign is committed to holding the City of Niagara Falls accountable to. A full pdf of the demands is attached as well as a timeline that highlights some of the history of the relationship with Marineland Canada and the City of Niagara Falls.
- Immediately terminate the 2012 land lease on Portage Rd.
- Immediately end the practice of holding and organizing closed door meetings between the City of Niagara Falls, Marineland and the Niagara Regional Police as well as a public release of all previous closed door meeting minutes.
- Immediately enforce sign by law infractions, including the large “Marineland” sign which currently sits on municipal property. If this is not done by July 27th, 2013 we will erect a similar sign 100 FT from that sign and force the City to enforce their own by laws.
- Immediately call for the removal of the fence erected by John Holer at the front of Marineland property which creates a safety hazard for emergency personnel (documented) and which situates municipal fire hydrants behind a physical barrier.
- Immediately publicize all property lines in relation to Marineland and initiate and enforce a process against John Holer and Marineland when they wrongfully, intentionally and repeatedly claim public property as their own.
- The immediate removal of Dean Iorfida from the position of Niagara Falls City Clerk for the refusal to enforce by laws and the open and public dismissal of the eviction of the 47 families at the Green Oaks Trailer Park.
- The immediate call for a public and transparent hearing on the eviction of 47 families from the Green Oaks Trailer Park and the role played by council at that time.
- The immediate public release of all City information and documentation in regards to Marineland, Marineland Animal Defense and the Green Oaks Trailer Park that would be released under a Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) request.
Niagara Falls City Council and Marineland Timeline
Marineland Animal Defense List of Demands to Niagara Falls City Council
Marineland Animal Defense Table Set up At Hamilton Veggie Fest 2013
A large focus of the campaign this year has been using our bigger reach and capacity to get our information out - whether that be at food festivals, speaking events, concerts, events, or outside of the park itself.
We don’t kid ourselves - we are up against one of the most iconic jingles in Canadian broadcast history and an absolutely massive advertising and marketing budget. We would not be able to afford even on tv spot, Marineland can afford to run commercials back to back to back to back.
With that said, we have consistently grown since we launched in 2011 and so much of that has been because of the strategies mentioned above. Getting out and meeting people face to face and spreading information about our opposition to the park. In the process dozens and dozens of people have helped out - giving us a heads up on events, inviting us to speak at shows, contacting us to table their festival, giving up hours of their weekend to give our leaflets, etc. What we need now is more of that - as well as more of a presence online to people either interested in going to the park, or defending animal captivity.
If you know of a large event where we can get our message out - get in touch or, better yet, download leaflets from our activist toolkit and spread the message yourself! If you are interested in hosting one of our organizing for a speaking event - get in touch! If you can spare some online time, respond to comments online of people asking for information about marineland (search or use tags) and provide them with an e-leaflet (a brief run down of the park and why folks oppose it).
All of these things are more powerful the more people are involved. We don’t need 1 person dedicating their every waking moment - 1,000 people dedicating one hour a week would be much more powerful. Let’s spread these duties out, coordinate our approaches, and amplify our message!
We are always looking for ways to grow our reach and impact in ways that are measurable.
Our social media footprint is the combination of likes, follows and contacts that we have to communicate our message to online. We’ve tried to keep track of this footprint, and grow it, but we’ve never done so in an organized way and never posted this publicly for others to help. We hope that doing so will help us grow even faster!
Each month - on the 16th - we will post our Social Media Footprint. Our goal is to grow our combined reach by 1,000 a month.
This is a necessity for a campaign that is up against a captive animal park with a 6 figure advertising and marketing budget. Marineland, in their desperation, has stepped their game up. It’s time for us to respond!
Sunday June 16th 6pm
Twitter - 969
Mailing List - 526
Instagram - 300
Tumblr - 370
Facebook Page - 5,976
Facebook Group - 888
Total - 9,029