Charges dropped against Niagara Falls’ Marineland for dolphin shows

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Published December 21, 2022 at 12:25 pm

marineland

Charges that Niagara Falls’ water attraction Marineland were holding illegal dolphin shows were dropped today (December 21) in court.

Niagara Police had charged the attraction after animal welfare group Animal Justice filed a formal complaint, citing Canadian law banning the use whales and dolphins in performances for entertainment.

Crown attorney Michal Sokolski stated that while he believed there was a reasonable prospect of conviction in the case, he decided that it was not in the public interest to prosecute Marineland, which has long maintained their shows are for educational purposes, rather than entertainment.

Officials with Animal Justice were stunned with the charges being dropped, saying it has extensive video footage of dolphins “dancing” to pop tunes and “performing tricks that included jumping out of the water, spinning in the air, and pushing trainers through the water.”

“The shocking decision to stay this charge sends the message that animals don’t matter to the legal system,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice.

“It’s deeply disappointing that there will be no justice for the dolphins used in entertainment shows at Marineland – something our country outlawed in 2019. What’s the point of passing new laws to protect animals if prosecutors refuse to accept that animal cruelty is a serious matter of public interest, and won’t bring Marineland to trial?”

This is the second time Marineland has avoided a trial on charges for animal welfare violations. In 2017, the Crown also cited a lack of “public interest” when it dropped provincial animal welfare charges laid against the park by authorities.
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