NIAGARA FALLS, ON, Nov. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - Instead of representing the interests of animal welfare, it appears the OSPCA is bowing to pressure from radical California-based animal rights activists who have been shown to falsify evidence in their effort to shut down companies like Marineland.
Marineland has learned that a recent inspection of Marineland's facilities was prompted by pressure from Last Chance for Animals, a Los Angeles organization working with a fired former Marineland employee that is believed to be seeking revenge for his dismissal.
This group has made grossly false allegations in the past including alleging the death of a baby beluga who is currently happy, healthy, and alive. It also appears they distorted and/or photoshopped images to create false images to allege abuse. This prior complaint was investigated by the OSPCA and dismissed as false.
Rather than accept the findings of the OSPCA's extensive and repeated investigations, animal rights groups have brought pressure against OSPCA by calling in an investigator to review that organization's efforts. They suggest the OSPCA is somehow overlooking violations and is operating contrary to its stated principles merely because it has determined Marineland is properly managing the animals within its care. It is simply inconceivable to these radical activists that a company that relies upon the health and safety of its animals would actually be interested in maintaining their welfare.
Less than a month following the animal activists announcement of their efforts to pressure OSPCA into action against Marineland, as reported by CP Reporter Liam Casey, Last Chance for Animals brought new allegations to the OSPCA, also reported by CP Reporter Liam Casey, without disclosing the source of his information or their past discredited claims against Marineland, along with Marineland's open libel suit against Casey. They concealed their efforts by making this complaint without notice to Marineland or providing the alleged images or video for review. They did, however, disclose their complaint to allies in the press in an effort to get maximum publicity for the attack on Marineland.
As we have been unable to review the purported evidence that prompted this latest attack, and while the Canadian Press has these materials and appears prepared to report on them without giving Marineland an opportunity to review and respond, it is impossible for us to comment on the allegations directly. However, knowing the tactics and past practice of this group, whose efforts to date have produced no results, Marineland believes such images are almost certainly photoshopped, false entirely, or deliberately manipulated and distorted.
The OSPCA sent a team of three investigators and a veterinarian to Marineland for one day, November 10, 2016. They noted minor issues and ordered action to be put in place within two weeks. None of the issues were considered serious enough to require the removal of any animals, and all the orders were complied with and completed within the prescribed time. It should be noted also that none of the orders related to any marine mammals.
Despite having all the requirements of the orders satisfied, and without a return or follow-up visit, the OSPCA decided to press forward with charges alleging abuse against black bears, guinea fowl, and a peacock, and issued a media release on a Friday afternoon, providing the public with more information about the charges against Marineland than to the park itself. There have also been suggestions made to the media, but not to Marineland, that further charges are pending, but there is no suggestion as to a possible basis for these further charges as Marineland has complied with all orders it has received.
We have previously outlined the basis of the allegations of abuse – that some edible produce stickers have accidentally been left on the fresh fruit and vegetables provided to our bears, that our guinea fowl pens were too small, and there was a benign growth over the eye of the peacock – and all of these issues have been corrected and the animals continue to thrive. None of these issues justifies a claim of abuse, which the OSPCA could easily verify if it chose to return to the park.
The suggestion that further charges are forthcoming is especially upsetting, as it indicates the OSPCA believes there are animals in distress at Marineland now but they are content to remain silent. By telling the media there might be more charges but not informing Marineland, we are left wondering if there is some unknown distress being placed on our animals that we could easily relieve. Who does it benefit to suggest there are animals in distress but not tell the one entity in a position to relieve that distress?
The OSPCA's actions in this matter, in bowing to pressure from activists and agenda-driven reporters, amounts to a scared regulator, with a track record of bowing to pressure and its own problems relating animal care practices the public deemed to be 'cruel', currying favour with a discredited group and actively working against the welfare of the animals it is mandated to protect.
For further information: Marineland, Marketing Department, Email: [email protected], Phone: 905-356-2142