judge imposes new restrictions on marineland animal defense in niagara falls, ontario

by Tim Phillips

Marineland Animal Defense is a Niagara Animal Defense League campaign with the goal of ending animal captivity at Marineland, a theme park in the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario. On Friday, a judge imposed new restrictions on the campaign, preventing activists from using megaphones on site or signs that include the words “abuse,” “torture,” “criminal,” “animal abuse,” or “arrest John Holer” – the owner of Marineland. The court order also effectively criminalizes leafleting at the Marineland entrance and exit, because it restrains activists from “hindering or impeding any guest of Marineland or anyone entering or exiting Marineland or indicating an intention to enter Marineland.”

As a result of the court order, Marineland Animal Defense canceled a demonstration set for tonight at the Niagara Falls City Council. But a co-founder of the group, Dylan Powell, has made it clear that the campaign will continue. According to his statement regarding the court order,

We knew from the beginning – way back in 2010 – that if we were effective we would face the weight of the legal system as a result. Marineland Canada has a history of being litigious and using the legal system as a weapon. It is now August 2013 and we still have the right to demonstrate on site and we still have the right to continue to raise awareness about this industry with the goal of [its] abolition.

One of the animals confined at Marineland is Kiska, the only remaining orca whale there, who was captured in the wild at age 3. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are used to living in thousands of miles of ocean in long-term social groups called pods. When held in captivity, these highly-intelligent and highly-socialized mammals suffer physical and mental distress, which apparently drives them to aggressive behavior.

Marineland has exhibited 29 orcas since it opened, but 26 of them have died. Of the remaining 3 orcas, 2 were relocated to SeaWorld. Of the 26 deceased orcas, 5 were Kiska’s children, none of whom lived longer than 6 years. The average lifespan for orcas in the wild is 30 years for males and 50 years for females.

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