john holer

John Holer: the man behind 'Mass Graveland'


Most people have heard of Marineland Canada, but not many people know about the man running the show. John Holer came to Canada with a background working in a travelling circus where he learned to train bears and other animals to do demeaning tricks, so it’s not surprising that Marineand is what it is today.

Since day one, MarineLand has been built on the backs of exploited animals, and that hasn’t changed. Over the years, Holer has gained himself a reputation for being extremely cheap, insensitive to the suffering of people and animals, vindictive, aggressive, and surely someone who should not be in charge of the physical/mental health of ANY animal.

Some of the most shocking scandals and allegations surrounding the man in charge of Marineland include:

-In 1977 John Holer was charged with illegally importing dolphins into the United States after stopping for fuel in Texas. Holer was fined $10,000.

-In 1983 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment laid charges against Holer and Marineland for running an illegal toxic waste dump. Marineland pleaded guilty to 44 charges under the environmental protection act and was fined $15,000.

-In 1992 John Holer was charged by the Lincoln County Humane Society with animal cruelty for failing to provide suitable and adequate care for a newborn deer. The judge later dismissed this charged based on the technicality that Marineland Inc. should have been charged instead of its hands on owner, John Holer.

-In 1996 Holer was charged with careless driving after allegedly striking a protester with his truck as she leafleted outside Marineland. The protester was transported to a hospital by ambulance with injuries described by police as “very minor.” Holer was acquitted of the careless driving charge in July 1997.

-In 1999 the 65 year old brother of John Holer, Stanislav Holer was charged with sexually assaulting a 16 year old female Marineland employee.

-In 2009 John Holer & Marineland served eviction notices to 47 families of the Green Oaks trailer park. Holer had purchased the land 5 years earlier and claimed he wanted to build maintenance facilities on the land previously giving no indication of his intentions and allowing new residents to buy homes there. Facing total loss of their homes and equity residents appealed to the city and the Landlord & Tenant Board. Holer drove through the park on a daily basis harassing the tenants. Former business partner of Holer and then Mayor of Niagara Falls Ted Salci refused to invoke an existing city bylaw to help the residents and despite evidence to in their favour the L&T Board ruled against them. On the day of eviction in 2011 long time resident Paula Millard committed suicide in her home. To this day the small 6 acre area remains empty and unused.

-In 2010 SeaWorld served Holer notice that they were terminating a longstanding breeding agreement between the two parks because they were concerned for the well being of their orca Ikaika if it remained at Marineland. Holer and Marineland refused to hand over the killer whale and was taken to court by SeaWorld eventually losing the case and appeal.

-In 2012 Marineland was the subject of an extensive investigation by the Toronto Star exposing animal abuse and neglect at the park. Inspections and orders from various regulatory agencies were initiated and there was widespread public condemnation and the biggest protests in the park’s history.

-In late 2012 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment discovered Marineland was burying thousands of dead animals illegally on the property and ordered them to stop.

-In 2013 Marineland began launching SLAPP lawsuits against virtually anyone who opposed them.  By mid 2013 they had multi-million dollar lawsuits against 3 former employees, 2 activists and the Toronto Star newspaper.

-In 2013 Holer was videotaped threatening another protester outside the park. He threatened to “stab and bury” the individual handing out leaflets. Police investigated and despite the threat being captured on video no charges were laid.

-2013 Marineland issued permit by the Ontario Ministry of Environment to resume burying dead animals on the property.


SOURCES

Peoples Reactions To Marineland Expose.

“I was there with girlfriend first and last time about 10 years ago to see the orca and dolphin show at the amphitheater.
During the dolphin part of the show one of them started to bleed out of the blow hole. It was pretty obvious to everyone and one of the trainers in the water was looking for some direction from the trainer on the outside of the pool and all he did was make a rolling sign with his arm to make the dolphin do a spin in the water to wash of the blood. It was disgusting and was shocked that they let the dolphin finish the show. Never again will I put foot in that place. And I have kids that have asked to go. The answer is always no.
EDIT: I just remembered reading a small newspaper article (one of those on the inside corner of a middle page) about a dolphin dying at the Marineland about a month after our visit. Coincidence, I’m sure”

“As a professional aquarist (a biologist in an aquarium), this is just…blowing my mind. What. The. Fuck. The water was green? It’s called filters. Did they not have filters on their tanks? What was so terrible in the water that made the trainers and animals sick? Why did they think that adding more chemicals would make things better? What chemicals were they putting in the water?! WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST DO WATER CHANGES? This is aquarium husbandry 10-fucking-1.

Where is their vet? How did their animals get so sick? Did NO ONE even know BASIC care for these animals? If that’s so, then how did the fuck did they even get ANY animals at all? I don’t know a lot about taking care of marine animals, but I thought there were some sort of standards aquariums must meet in order to acquire marine mammals (I want to say it’s through the USDA or OSHA).

This is so terrible”

“I went there last year for a company picnic and I was appalled. I ended up writing a letter to my MP and MPP.

The MP (well, probably his assistant) was very nice and gave me all sorts details about the laws regarding for-profit animal attractions. Those laws are pretty much provincial.

The MPP’s response didn’t really go anywhere because he’s a douche”

“The saddest part was the bear enclosure. WTF!. The bears looked thin, were going bald in patches, it was very dirty and it really smelled terrible. You could buy bear feed and toss it over and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of their main sources of nutrition. I don’t get all uppity about animal cruelty but this almost angered me”.

“And then get all shocked and horrified when they lash out at what they see as their oppressor. That’s what I hate about places like this and SeaWorld. People wonder why Shamu would ever attack its trainer and call for it to be killed….UH HELLO, YOU PUT THE WHALE IN A FUCKING BATHTUB”

“Hopefully if MarineLand FINALLY gets shut down that will be a message to this aquarium to pack it’s shit up and fuck off.

Animals in captivity used to be dazzling if only for the fact that we would never see them in any substantial capacity otherwise. However, now with all the resources we have through the net and everyone uploading everything and our own global awareness, it’s become a thing of the past and I think people are pretty much over it. Or at least they should be”

“watched 2 seconds of that seal in a cage and I wanted to hurt someone… I’m a grown ass man and this gets to me like no ones business.. I do not understand how people jeopardize the safety of animals for fuckin’ money… The government or god damn animal planet needs to pack their shit and get to marinecage and imprison these mother fuckers”

“Here’s the thing about taking children to the zoo/marine park/etc to "learn about animals.” They learn NOTHING about animals. What can a child possibly learn about anything once it has been so far removed from its’ natural environment? Oh sure, they learn what neurotic behavior looks like… how mental psychosis manifests… how injuries/lack of space affect movement… etc.

And, sure… parents lie to their children when asked, “why is the tiger pacing back and forth, mommy?”

It’s like going to a maximum security prison to learn about humans.

Want to learn about animals? Read a book or watch a documentary… it’s far more informative"

“I’ll fess up… when I was a kid, I remember going to a circus and making fun of the people protesting the treatment of the animals. I thought they were just trying to ruin our fun.

As I grew up and learned more about how they treated the elephants and other animals, I realized just how mistaken I was. I still feel bad about it to this day”

“Damn…I used to go here when I was a kid and it was in great condition. We went back a few years later and it was terrible. I remember the large stadium-style tank that the dolphins were in was lime green and completely murky. The dolphins would swim up to the windows and look at the people with the saddest eyes I have every seen on an animal.”

“How the fuck does this place have an AZA certification”

- Some comments on Reddit about today's expose on Marineland. 

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Did you know that the OSPCA did an inspection of Marineland on October 10th, and that they found NOTHING wrong with the place? The upclose photo of Sonja the Walrus was taken just two days after their so-called inspection. How could they have missed that? My guess is, they went in, collected their bribe and left. This needs to end. We go to them for help for these animals and they turn out to be just as bad as John Ass-HOLER (Marineland’s owner). OSPCA and Marineland are the enemies here.

change.org
Save Marineland's Animals

After 12 years of working at Marineland as an animal trainer, I made the difficult decision to quit and speak out about the deplorable conditions and neglect I witnessed. I saw dolphins living in extremely poor quality water, their skin flaking off in chunks, and six out of seven harbour seals becoming blind or suffering severe eye damage. A baby beluga named “Skoot” died last month after being attacked by other belugas in a pool she should have never been forced into. Many people are appalled. Many are calling for Marineland to be closed, however what most don’t know is that Ontario has no laws controlling aquariums and zoos, or protecting the animals inside. Without those laws no one will be able to save the animals of Marineland. Marineland is a major tourist destination for Canadians, Americans, and people from many other countries. The lack of animal protection laws in Ontario are a sore spot that need addressing. We need people from around the globe signing and sharing this petition to help make the Ontario Government aware of these gross injustices towards animals. I’m asking Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Government to pass a new law that will regulate a high standard of care for animals in aquariums and zoos, and will provide an opportunity to close places like Marineland when they don’t comply. During the past 20 years there have been many attempts to help the animals at Marineland, but these attempts have never turned into real Government action. I’m also asking Marineland owner John Holer to allow me to visit Smooshi the Walrus who depends on me for care.  Please sign and share so this can never happen again at Marineland or anywhere else. It’s time we speak for the animals! Phil Demers Click here to read Linda Diebel’s amazing Toronto Star Series exposing Marineland. Click here to watch CBC’s story about my amazing connection with Smooshi  

Another 1977 article of John Holer being himself.

The animals were confiscated by U.S. fisheries authorities under the law that classifies dolphins as an endangered species and forbids their movement within the United States

Stephenson said the six dolphins were released into the Gulf of Mexico at Beaumont because space was not available for all of them in a marine-life facility. Holer said the water there may be too cold for them to survive

Of the eight captured, only two were sent to Canada.

The dolphins were taken off the Yucatan coast, as stated in the article. The Gulf of Mexico is above it. How in the ever-loving fuck would it have been too cold?

John Holer, King of Dickbags.