Marineland Animal Defense

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BREAKING: an organizer from Marineland Animal Defense has arrived on site at Marineland in Niagara Falls Ontario and will live in this bathtub for the next 3 days. There is no difference between his confinement to the tub and an orca in a tiny tank inside this facility.

Solidarity from Marineland Animal Defense for all animals held captive.

If you are in the area, please drop by and show some support! We hear they would really appreciate a warm drink and a few high fives. The tub will be on site and occupied for the entire closing weekend.

Statement of Solidarity with Marineland Animal Defense/Dylan Powell

OneFight would like to make explicitly clear our unwavering and fully invested support in both Dylan Powell and Marineland Animal Defense (MAD hereafter) during this time of intimidation and aggression by the now notoriously shameful Marineland Canada. We recognize that others, such as Christine Santos have been served as well, and we are also in full support of her defense. 

The situation with Dylan Powell and MAD is a clear cut example of a SLAPP suit after the campaign against the park had a banner year when more than a dozen whistleblowers, as well as undercover footage from inside the park, and a series of mainstream press articles made public information that MAD had known for years, and activists in the area had been protesting for decades. None of MAD’s actions have ever been violent towards any employee at Marineland, nor has any property been damaged, even when a mass of protesters symbolically entered the park on the final day of 2012 in an act of civil disobedience to picket and eventually end the dolphin show in progress—not so much as a single garbage pail was overturned, nor even one piece of material removed from the site, and all protesters exited the park peacefully and orderly. Only one trespass ticket was issued despite more than 100 people breaching the turnstiles. Yet, the suit against Dylan claims that these peaceful and at a great majority entirely legal actions have somehow been in breach of civil law, intimidating, harassing, and are sufficient for a 1.5 million dollar claim. 

Conversely, at demonstrations activists associated with MAD have been verbally assaulted and threatened by owner John Holer. On numerous occasions he has been recorded saying he’d cut the head off of individuals and has attempted/threatened to hit others with his truck. Materials denouncing freedom of expression and the legitimate concerns of protesters have been erected illegally on public property (signage warning of protesters and instructions to ignore them.) Permanent signs not being the only misuse of public property; city council was propositioned and accepted a proposal to lease public land to the park in order to make legal protesting suddenly illegal on property owned by the municipality of Niagara for the purpose of “beautification” before the season in 2012 (only to have nothing happen to the leased parcel but regular grass cutting). Increasingly this past year hostility has escalated. Peaceful law-abiding people demonstrating across from the gates were frequently harassed and intimidated through threats as well as in a few isolated cases physical contact/harm. We think it is laughable that MAD is being painted as the aggressor at this juncture. 

Dylan Powell has always sustained pressure on the person who has the ability to end this tomorrow should he choose to: John Holer. Dylan has never been rattled nor dissuaded by threatening letters from lawyers nor threatening remarks from animal abusers—this time will be no different. His strength and his success will be partly due to his tremendous character, but by equal measure, the response and support of his community and kin. This is where we must all stand up, step in, and speak out. He is not alone and we must ensure that he, nor Marineland do not ever forget that. With the mainstream media covering the story in the park, MAD and Dylan both could have remained separate in their organizing and likely insulated themselves from a lot of potential litigation, but understanding that these stories and the animals inside have an urgent need to get out of Marineland, these risks were accepted. They have now come to collect, and that is why we all must continue to rally together, and create strong associations and networks of support. If you are a member of an organization, or you feel inclined as an individual, please send us or MAD a statement of support so we can collect and publish them.  

During this time, it is important to support all of those who have been and will yet be served, but we feel it is but also important to support Dylan as he is being sued because of his active involvement in the resistance to animal cruelty at the park. This supposition is further corroborated by the fact that unlike the others, Dylan’s papers contain injunctions that would, if Marineland is successful, make it unviable for him or some other activists to organize against or protest near the park itself. These actions are not about Marineland wanting retribution, they are about crippling the opposition to captivity and stifling the gains MAD has realized this year. Dylan’s suit is not because he spoke about secrets he was made privy to because of his job, nor because he broke any laws, contracts, non-disclosure agreements or promises. On the contrary, Dylan’s suit is about silencing the resistance through the false assumption that if they remove the head the body will die. This is why this statement, and any other statement that any group or individual wishes to issue is so critical. Dylan is not the head. Dylan is our comrade, he is our peer, he is our brother, he is us. If you take him out, 5 more will take his place, and they will be emboldened by anger over this offense against our cohort and fueled by the desire for justice. 

This lawsuit is meant to scare our community, and fracture it, but it will only knit us tighter together. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. 

The movement cannot be stopped, not by any measure of money or any pack of lawyers. It cannot be stopped because we as individuals are not moving anything—it is the ground that is moving and if Marineland, John Holer and all the animal abusers out there cannot keep pace with the changing landscape, they will surely fall, and that will be no ones fault but their own. 

Forever with Dylan, MAD, the animals, and all who resist—until the bitter end, 

OneFight  

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After 3 days living in a bathtub outside Marineland in Niagara Falls Ontario, Marineland Animal Defense Organizer Jeremy, AKA: TubMan has left his tub! He did shows for audiences when they gathered, he was cold at night and hit during the day living in this contrived and cramped environment, and he relied on others to bring him the food and water he needed to live. After 3 days and two whole nights without even leaving the tub to go to the bathroom, he is now safe and sound at home.

He wanted to make sure people understood the significance of that; after 3 days he was able to quit and go home. The animals inside Marineland will not ever be able to return home without people like us stepping in, working to close this facility and every other one like it the world over, rehabilitating and/or re-homing these animals so that they can live some kind of fair life in either seaside sanctuaries or eventually after unlearning their domestication, return to their homes and families. (Which it has been documented that some captive dolphins have done! Returning years later to the same locations they were caught and rejoining their family groups.)

TubMan is no more, but Jeremy, and Marineland Animal Defense are still here and still fighting and we none of us will give up the fight for these animals.

Because living in a bathtub isn’t fun for anyone, orca or activist alike.

Yesterday I went to Princess Cinema to view Blackfish, the new documentary about Tilikum (the male killer whale at SeaWorld). Tilikum is almost 40 years old and his dorsal fin has flopped over - this happens to virtually ALL MALE ORCAS in captivity. I mean it just makes them look unhealthy and sad; how can people not see this?

The footage and story are still haunting me. I’ve had a really dark feeling ever since. From the way the babies are stolen from their families in the ocean and the sounds of the screaming, grieving mothers, to the way they are bred in captivity (forcibly ejaculating the males into Ziploc bags, then pouring it into the females, thereby raping the whales each time they want a new performer), to the fact that despite having killed 3 trainers and having been attacked endlessly by the female whales, they refuse to retire him or think HEY MAYBE WE SHOULD LEAVE THESE GUYS IN THE OCEAN.

The whales are kept in 20 x 30’ tin pools overnight, dude. 2/3 of their lives spent in a pool even smaller than the shit they perform in. The trainers withhold food from them if they don’t do the tricks properly. They’re not kept in their pods (whom they stay with forever, in the wild); the groups you might see at a marine animal park are a mere mishmash of whales who don’t know each other, who were bought and sold from various parks all over the world.

It’s very difficult watching the babies being stolen from their mothers. The baby cries out in fear, the mother cries out in grief, anger, stress - Those majestic, intelligent animals, being reduced to playthings, to toys, to objects for profit.

Shame.

I think that this movie will do a great job of helping to end marine animal captivity.

shout out to Kiska, 37 year old orca who swims alone at Marineland, has lost all 5 of her babies and spends her whole day and night floating in a fucking concrete, chemical pool, depressed, lonely, sick. I love you and one day you will be free.

<3

Portrait of Marineland Animal Defense co-founder Dylan Powell. 95% sarcasm, 100% XVX. Ruling planets: Mars and Pluto.

Dylan is currently being sued, amongst a few other whistleblowers, by Marineland for $1.5 Million, with a SLAPP lawsuit, not to win against him, but to silence protesters and whistleblowers. He has since attained such titles as cult leader, Jim Jones with flying monkeys, etc.

He is a dear friend and great inspiration to me.

thestar.com
Marineland protest gains supporters after Star stories

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Larry, the harbour seal with “an amazing little personality” who arrived at Marineland about eight years ago is now a shadow of his former self. After repeated exposure to unhealthy water, he has gone blind.

An animal advocacy group expects a surge of new protesters at Saturday’s demonstration outside Marineland.

The group will meet at noon Saturday, pickets and water bottles in hand, on the grass near the park’s entrance. They’re scheduled to protest until 2 p.m.

“RSVPs on our website went from 20 to 200 in less than 24 hours,” said Dylan Powell, a protest organizer from Marineland Animal Defense, or M.A.D.

He says the new protesters are joining after former Marineland employees told the Star of poor water conditions, chronic short-staffing and repeated instances of animal suffering at the park.

Extra pickets are being painted by the veteran demonstrators, who come from a variety of groups including Marineland Animal Defense, Ocean Voice London and Niagara Action for Animals.

Saturday’s protest is the sixth of 10 protests this summer organized by Marineland Animal Defense. On average, about 20 to 50 people join the demonstrations.

“I don’t want to close down the place, I want them to make it into an amusement park with no animals,” said Jill DiTillio, a protester for the past 20 years. “That way tourists don’t need to be concerned about the animals. Most of the locals are quite aware of what’s going on and are unwilling to go.”

But protesting at Marineland became more difficult in June.

Marineland signed a lease with Niagara Falls city council in June for about 400 metres of Portage Rd., a public space near the park’s entrance. The park’s lawyer told council that the land was meant for “beautification” through landscaping. The three-year lease was approved.

In reaction, protesters temporarily moved their campaign to a new spot: the doorstep of John Holer, Marineland’s owner.

“If you’re not going to let us protest on municipal property by doing something weird like that, we’re going to come protest at your house,” said DiTillio.

Protesters can still march on a plot of grass beside Marineland. A line of trees draws the border between the public property and Marineland’s leased land.

The group recently bought megaphones to shout their message to park patrons driving to buy admission.

Powell said copies of the Star’s investigation will be handed out to people entering the park

“We’ve got our hands on a bunch of copies, for anyone who wants to read about what’s going on inside the park,” he said.

The group is an eclectic mix of people of all ages from across Southern Ontario.

“What we have in common is that it’s a bunch of concerned citizens. We want to bring to light that these animals should not be in captivity in the conditions that they are in,” said Jeremy Larivee, an electrician who protests with Ocean Voice London.

VIDEO: Behind the scenes at Marineland

Marineland animals suffering, former staffers say

Heartache for Smooshi the walrus as top trainer quits

Log details reveal water quality issues

Marineland baby beluga’s death raises as many questions as answers

Support Toronto Aquarium Resistance Alliance (TARA) and sign the petition!

  • A Chill in the Niagara Air: Marineland Lawsuits Target Activists, Whistleblowers
  • Animal Voices
  • Animal Voices
Play

A Chill in the Niagara Air: Marineland Lawsuits Target Activists, Whistleblowers

2012 was a tough year for Marineland. The Toronto Star ran a series of damning articles in which former Marineland employees told of neglect, chronic water quality problems that caused pain and even blindness in the animals, and mass graves on site. The revelations bolstered public opposition to the embattled park, culminating in an 800-person demonstration in which chanting protesters spontaneously flooded into the park.

Now, Marineland has lashed back by filing two $1 million-plus lawsuits: one against Dylan Powell, longtime community organizer and a major voice in Marineland Animal Defense, and another against Christine Santos, a former Marineland trainer whose criticism of the treatment of killer whale Kiska was featured in the Star.

Tune in as Powell talks SLAPP lawsuits and legal strategy. (SLAPP = Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, a lawsuit designed to intimidate and silence critics.) Powell will also reflect on the activism successes of 2012, and tip us off about what Niagara activists have planned for 2013, including a speaking tour about Marineland and an anti-vivisection campaign at Brock University.

Marineland Animal Defense’s opening day protests happen on May 18th in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Help them be the voice of Marineland’s animals, and help stop the cruelty and neglect that is going on there.

I can’t be there because of my job, as if the police show up, I could lose my job. But I will be promoting the protest the up coming weeks on my tumblr accounts, twitter and facebook, as well as verbally to anyone who will listen.

BE A VOICE for the VOICELESS! Help change and Don’t Buy A Ticket!

The MAD organizer now dubbed “Tubman” is still there and over hour 18 in the tub! His feet are cold, but his spirits are high! Love and support has been pouring in from all over the world! Go Jeremy Go! He can see all the supportive messages from everyone and it’s really great! He’ll be there until the park closes for the season! Show him some love if you can!

vimeo

The Niagara Animal Defense League presents a Marineland Animal Defense PSA! Please watch, share and become a sustainer if you can! See you all on Sunday!

youtube

Great footage of activists storming Marineland today and shutting down the dolphin show

It is with heavy hearts that we write this post - reduced to words that will never capture the full effect we want them to have.

The organizing hub of Marineland Animal Defense have been closely following the health of Stephen Watson for months as for many of of us he is a friend, comrade, mentor, teacher and inspiration. News today, that after months of battling stage 3 cancer, Stephen Watson now has congestive heart failure and two weeks to live is a horrible blow.

Stephen’s effect, through life long advocacy as an artist, is very easily recognizable within our group. Many of our members are from London, On - where Stephen lives - and without doubt the majority of dedicated ocean activists and advocates in Ontario come from London, On. The beginnings of M.A.D. also came as a result of a fundraiser in St. Catharines in January 2010 where Stephen and his wife Renee tabled for Sea Shepherd - a prisoner support fundraiser for the AETA 4 where “The Cove” was screened. Without Stephen, Renee, and the entire Watson family, M.A.D. and much of the ocean advocacy that happens in Ontario and throughout the world simply would not exist.

Stephen is now facing an unbelievable uphill battle - and as a result of the criminalization of his brother, Paul, he may not be able to see his brother again. We are disgusted to live in a world where this is considered “justice.” For those who despair, please re double your efforts in supporting Paul Watson as a result of this news.

We are also urging all members to reach out and leave message of support with the Watson family - acknowledging Stephen’s advocacy and supporting him and his family. For a person so noted for his heart, Stephen has now given it to the rest of us to carry. We aim to make him proud.

Marineland Animal Defense