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Marineland charged for allegedly hosting illegal whale and dolphin shows


Marineland of Canada Inc. is facing one criminal charge after allegedly putting on whale and dolphin shows for entertainment purposes in August without the authority to do so.

Niagara Regional Police confirmed to CTV News Toronto on Monday that they have placed one charge of using captive cetacean for performance for entertainment purposes without authorization against the facility. The passing of Bill S-203 in 2019 made it illegal under the criminal code to use mammals for entertainment performances.

Police said they began an investigation in October after receiving complaints that the facility was using its whale and dolphins in for-profit entertainment performances.

During the investigation, police said “it was found that dolphins and whales were utilized for entertainment purposes during the month of August, without being authorized to do so.”

On Monday afternoon, Marineland issued a statement in response to the charges, stating that they anticipate “the courts will find Marineland to be not guilty, as a matter of law,” as they say their shows are of an educational nature.

“Marineland of Canada Inc.’s educational presentation was designed by experts to provide Canadians with an accessible opportunity to learn about marine life,” the statement said.

“Our animal presentation contains marine mammals undertaking behaviours they exhibit in ocean environments.”

When reached for comment, the Ministry of the Solicitor General, who oversees Animal Welfare Services, confirmed the charge, but did not provide further comment.

"Given the matter is before the court and that there is an ongoing inspection at Marineland, we cannot comment further," spokesperson Brent Ross said.

Animal Welfare Services has had an inspection at Marineland ongoing for months with concerns over the park's water quality.

Marineland is scheduled to appear at the Robert S.K. Welch Courthouse on Feb. 14 to answer to the charge.

Marineland, located in Niagara Falls, Ont., opened to the public in 1961.

With files from CP24's Cristina Tenaglia. Top Stories

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