Huffpost Canada ca

Marineland Protest: Roughly 800 People Crash Ontario Theme Park, Aiming To Shut It Down

Posted: Updated:
MARINELAND MISTREATING ANIMALS
Dozens of protesters crashed through the gates of an Ontario theme park on Sunday railing against its treatment of marine life. (CP files) | CP

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Dozens of protesters rushed the gates of Marineland on Sunday demanding an end to what they called the abuse of whales, dolphins and other animals at the amusement park, but the situation was quickly brought under control, police and organizers said.

"No one was really expecting what happened today, but it happened and I feel the anger that people feel," said Dylan Powell of Marineland Animal Defence, one of the groups behind the protest.

The protesters say they want to end animal captivity and their goal is to close down the theme park.

A crowd that Niagara Region Police estimated at about 800 gathered outside the park property and a group of about 150 rushed the front gates near the show area.

"People did enter into the park, it wasn't part of the demonstration schedule obviously,'' said Powell.

Protesters and police confirmed that those who entered the park managed to shut down a dolphin show.

Const. Derek Watson, a Niagara police spokesman, said more than 20 police officers were called in to disperse the protesters, who quickly retreated.

''Once more officers were there, just through our police presence, it sort of dispersed the crowd and pushed them back towards the roadway,'' Watson said. ''For the most part the protesters were very co-operative.''

There were no arrests, though Powell said one trespass ticket was issued.

Marineland, which closed for the season this weekend, was not immediately available for comment.

The theme park was the subject of allegations from former employees and Zoocheck Canada who claimed animals at the tourist attraction aren't properly cared for and their health is at risk.

Zoocheck and other opponents delivered a petition with 77,000 signatures to the Ontario legislature, demanding that parks like Marineland be better regulated.

The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums launched an investigation in response to the allegations and found no major issues at the park.

Marineland issued a statement last week saying it ``very difficult and personally upsetting'' for many Marineland staff to see these issues raised through the media and that they only want to provide a safe and healthy environment for the animals in their care.

There were a dozen protests outside Marineland this year and Powell said the group will spend the winter lobbying the federal government for legislation banning the import or export of marine mammals. Marineland can expect protests to continue next year when the park reopens for a new season, Powell said.

"We will continue to put hundreds of people outside Marineland on a consistent basis.''

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that opponents of Zoocheck delivered a petition to the Ontario legislature. The typo has since been changed.

Related on HuffPost:



Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Marineland Protest | Video | wgrz.com

PHOTOS: Marineland protest

Marineland protest - YouTube

Hundreds gather for largest ever protest at Marineland | Ontario ...

Marineland Protest In Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada | Bambuser

Not everyone loves Marineland: Protesters crash gates of Ontario marine park ...

Protesters storm Marineland

Marineland called 'worst park' in progressive countries

Former Marineland trainers to deliver petition to McGuinty