Marineland: a lawyer denied access


Source: The Canadian Press / Scott Dunlop

Marineland barred access to its facilities to a number of people, some of whom have never visited the Niagara Falls tourist attraction, days before the season opened.

A lawyer, a filmmaker and a scientist are among those who received a notice, which has identical wording except for the names.

The notices state that recipients “have no right to enter the property known as Marineland of Canada, Inc.” and may not enter “at any time and for any reason.”

People who receive such a notice who enter the property can be charged under the Trespass to Property Act and face a $2,000 fine if convicted, the document reads. which is signed by the owner Mary Holer.

Marineland, which opened for the season on Saturday, did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Canadian Press.

Miranda Desa, a lawyer for the activist organization Last Chance for Animals, said she received such a notice on Tuesday. The ban applies not only to Ms. Desa, but also to the entire organization, “its employees, volunteers, representatives, agents, directors and affiliates”.

“The first thing that comes to mind is ‘what are they hiding? ‘” she said. “I helped Last Chance for Animals file a lawsuit against Marineland just last fall.”

Last year, Last Chance for Animals sent an investigator to Marineland to see what was going on inside the park. The organization sent videos as part of a complaint to Niagara Regional Police in September 2021 and its investigator provided a statement to police a month later. In December 2021, Niagara Regional Police accused Marineland of using dolphins and whales for entertainment purposes, a charge the tourist attraction denies.

Marineland blamed the charge on “ideologically motivated activists” who filed a complaint with police. This week, Marineland appeared in court for the fourth time on these charges. The case has been adjourned until in June.

In March, officers contacted the management of Last Chance for Animals to ask for more photographs and videos, according to Ms Desa. “I think they’re trying to stop Last Chance for Animals from being there and seeing what’s going on,” she said of the Marineland ban.

Ms Desa said members of the organization will abide by the trespass notice, while stressing that they have little recourse to fight the ban. “There are lots of great ways to continue advocating for animal rights,” she said.

Rob Laidlaw, executive director of animal rights organization Zoocheck, also said he received the notice earlier this week. “It sounds silly, they can’t really ban everyone,” he said. Mr Laidlaw said he received a similar notice several years ago.

“I have no intention of going back there, it’s not necessary,” he said.

Others who received the trespassing notice were puzzled, including three advisers from the Whale Sanctuary Project, a coastal refuge project in Nova Scotia for whales once kept in marine parks. “I have nothing to do with Marineland,” laughed the documentary maker Harry Rabin. “It’s really weird. »

He suspects the notification he received may have something to do with his upcoming documentary Cry of the Wild, about the 100 whales that were captured and held in Russian waters and destined for marine parks around the world.

Sara Duboischief scientific officer of the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of British Columbia, believes these are her connections as an advisor to the Whale Sanctuary Project that got him on the list.

“Honestly, I thought it was spam,” she said. “I have never had contact with Marineland, I have never visited Marineland, I have never spoken publicly about Marineland until now. »

A third counselor from the Whale Sanctuary Project, Liv Bakerwho lives in New York, also said she had never visited or discussed the park before.

“It’s weird,” said Ms. Baker, a professor in the animal behavior and conservation program at Hunter College.

Charles Vinick, executive director of the Whale Sanctuary Project, also claimed to have received notice. He adds that some of his other colleagues also received one, but not all of them. “It’s strange,” he also believes.

Marineland and the sanctuary project had previously had discussions about the potential transfer of some whales at one point, but those discussions ended in December when Marineland released a report alleging the sanctuary’s waters were too polluted.

“We look forward to talking with Marineland in the future,” said Mr. Vinick.

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Marineland: a lawyer denied access

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