Information on the protests which happen every year at Marineland normally on the opening day which for 2017 falls on Saturday, May 20th.
Marineland is a controversial amusement park which contains animals such as Beluga Whales and Killer Whales. Every year the park attracts a large protest normally peaking on the opening day which for 2017 falls on Saturday, May 20th.
The reason people protest and have been doing so (some for over 20 years) is due to concerns over animal welfare. Not only are the conditions the animals are kept in a concern for locals and animal activists alike, but the very idea that such beautiful creatures are taken from their natural habitat and placed in artificial conditions purely for human entertainment has become a topical debate.
Many argue that the practice should be outlawed, and indeed in other states across Canada the import of such animals is now prohibited. Some also state that they would be happy to support Marineland once again if they were to get rid of the animals (releasing them back where they belong) and if they just concentrated on the amusement attractions instead.
In response to the protests that happen every year, Marineland has responded by making the following statement on its website:
“Sadly a small but vocal group of individuals are trying to impose their radical ideological views that no animal or mammal should ever be held in a zoo or aquarium. Unable to get widespread public support, these individuals have been forced to resort to the spreading mistruths and trying to intimidate anyone who dares disagree with their radical ideological points of view.
All of their accusations have been proven by numerous expert investigations to be false. We are dealing with some of the accusers in the courts right now.
We urge you to view some of the informative videos included on our web site.
We look forward to seeing you this season. We promise you will have a whale of a time!”
Whichever view you side with, it is good to be aware that protesters will be visible at the gates encouraging those who are intending to visit to turn around. At times Niagara police will be on patrol to ensure the protests do not get out of hand, so visiting is something you should consider if you are taking young children especially as things could get hostile towards those who ignore protesters and enter anyway.
Though it has to be said the general vibe is more about making people aware of the allegations and ensuring people make an informed choice, as many past protests have passed peacefully with protesters giving a clap to anyone who turned around after listening to what they had to say – rather than insinuating violence or hate.
The debate rolls out so keep your eyes peeled for the 2017 protests and any response which follows from the park and media outlets for the latest information. One thing for sure is that Marineland continues to attract controversy even 50 years after it first opened.