Inordinate Ordnance: Marineland Finally Busted for their Animal Cruelty

Thursday, August 16, 2012

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Written by Chris Carr

The movie 2001: Space Odyssey depresses me. Not because of how ephemeral it makes humanity out to be or how we will all become slaves to artificially intelligent machines, but because all of that should have happened over ten years ago.

It’s shocking to think that there are those who protest free health care and gay marriage. It seems so fundamental to human nature, that our descendants will laugh at the plight. But, one of the major shortcomings of our present-tense as people is our treatment of animals.

Recently, an ex-employee of Marineland, Phil Demers, has come forward with how the amusement park treats its animals. His video confession can be found here. He illustrates a picture that can be likened to WWII prison camps and a prejudice that no authority would ever bestow on a human being (in a civilized society), but still animals are considered product.

I grew up in Niagara Falls and have been to Marineland possibly a dozen or so times. My friends and I would follow the train tracks and under the radar of security, would sneak into the park. We’d smear some blue magic marker on our hands in the days of stamp re-entry and we were untouchable to the Land Mariner security goons. Although we were illegal patrons, we perpetuated the “spectacle” of having animals flip, squawk and splash for our entertainment. But there was always a sense of wrong-doing (besides the illegal entry) that would stab at the back of our minds like a tiny cattle-prod.

Now as an adult, I understand that the Marineland money-maker is nothing more than slave driving. With Demers’ confession, myself and others like me are only more vindicated in our boycott of Marineland and other animal-centric entertainments.

Although I vehemently disagree with the argument for eating animals, it can be defensible for human beings to consume some animals (even if the only defense is ignorant traditionalism). However the abuse that Marineland’s animals have endured seems universally recognized as unethical and therefore, should be stopped. I’d be floored if Marineland sees another summer after this scandal.

But I may be in the minority. Although this story has made national news, there is still an all-too-muted rebellion in the wake of Demers’ confession. Marineland will be open for business tomorrow, eager to usher in hundreds upon hundreds of tourists, each eager to ride Dragon Mountain and watch miserable deer chew dirt (from lack of care). Marineland will continue to cash-in on the suffering of animals and people, willfully ignorant of their treatment, will pay to see a manically depressed killer whale push around a smiling trainer. Unfortunately, it is more important that a family has a good afternoon, than an animal lives a good life.

It’s the old vegetarian’s mantra—It’s David and Goliath; it’s animal rights versus convenience. The machine of convenience has many people’s ethical compass in firm grasp as it is always easier to do nothing that stand up for those being oppressed. It easier to just enjoy the show than think about suicidal dolphins. It is easier to pay the admission fee as a form of ethical ambiguity than actually take responsibility for how your fellow human treats lesser beings. It’s convenient to just forget about these animals as there is surely nothing you can do to help them.

I strongly disagree.

If you would like to be part of the solution, sign this petition. There are conduits to do some good and this is one way. Although this probably won’t have a direct affect on Marineland’s third quarter, it still acts as proof that the general population thinks their actions are deplorable.

It is also worth mentioning, in the light of honesty, there may be some who believe the contrary. Some may not see anything wrong with the treatment Marineland’s animals. Hopefully those people will come forward and be known, so the rest of us know not to trust them with caring for anything smarter than a pudding cup.

If you would like to do more, please feel free to contact this list of animal right advocates. Only when they know of a problem can they take steps to fix it. Also, go hug your cat/dog/iguana/pet, it’s important.

ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/Home/Fight-Animal-Cruelty/report-animal-cruelty



CFHS: http://cfhs.ca/info/animal_cruelty_how_to_report_it/



Chris Carr is Editor-in-Chief of The Cannon. Inordinate Ordnance publishes every Thursday in The Cannon and in The Ontarion Student Newspaper at the University of Guelph.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question.


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  1. Posted by: on Aug 20, 2012 @ 4:49pm

    I really enjoyed this article. In my case the author is preaching to the converted, but it's amazing in this day and age that some people still not only condone such cruelty, but actually pay money to perpetuate it. It's a terrible message to send to children's impressionable young minds about the relationship of man to non human sentient beings.

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