Written by Alisa Mullins
A newspaper exposé has led to an investigation by Ontario's Environment Ministry into four mass animal graves at the province's Marineland theme park. According to a former park employee, the graves contain the bodies of more than 1,000 animals, including orcas, dolphins, seals, walruses, bears, bison, and deer.
Former marine-mammal trainer Phil Demers described one particularly gruesome incident to a reporter from the Toronto Star. After an orca named Kandu died in December 2005, he was buried on the park's grounds. But staffers failed to obtain brain tissue samples during the whale's necropsy, so Demers and another trainer were assigned the macabre task of exhuming Kandu's body two weeks later.
"He was not frozen and it smelled so bad and there was blood all over the place," says Demers. "I was elbow deep in the pit in a reddish orangey sludge and we both kept coming up to vomit. It was gross."
Graveyard of Niagara Falls
The graves may be illegal, since Ontario requires waste permits to dispose of animal corpses and the park apparently had no such permits. Government officials are also concerned about possible contamination of the water and soil, especially because of the graves' close proximity to the Welland River, which feeds nearby Niagara Falls.
PETA has been campaigning against Marineland for years, citing the park's abysmal conditions and the high mortality rate among young whales and dolphins. The park also has a long history of obtaining wild-caught beluga whales, dolphins, and orcas, including Keiko, aka "Willy" from the movie Free Willy, whom Marineland sold to an even more depressing park in Mexico, where he languished for years before being rescued and rehabilitated. This summer, Demers and seven other former trainers came forward to report numerous instances of neglect and abuse, including serious damage to animals' skin and eyes because of filthy, tainted water.
Alarmingly, Ontario is Canada's only province that does not regulate the keeping and displaying of exotic animals or conduct public-safety inspections. Parks like Marineland are allowed to "police" themselves, and Marineland's mass graves are silent testimony to how good—or bad—of a job it's doing.
You Can Help
Refuse to patronize any marine park, including SeaWorld, which also has a tragic track record. Please voice your objections about the lack of adequate captive-animal protection laws in Ontario to Premier Dalton McGuinty:
The Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Premier of OntarioRm. 281, Main Legislative Bldg., Queen's ParkToronto, Ontario M7A 1A4416-325-7578 (fax)
Written by PETA
In a world where a man is forced to live the same day of his life over and over again … (I'm doing my best movie trailer voice-over impression here!)
For folks who love animals and a good comedy, you're in for a treat that's been two years in the negotiating. Through a special grant from a Hollywood supporter, PETA has been able to purchase the rights to the 1993 classic Groundhog Day, and it's now set to get a makeover: a freshly-shot and even happier ending than the original.
In PETA's new animal-friendly version (scheduled for release in February 2012), Phil Connors (Bill Murray) discovers that the way to keep from hopelessly repeating February 2 is to rescue Punxsutawney Phil from being dragged out of his "burrow" (a small enclosure in the basement of a library) and held up under harsh lights in front of a noisy crowd. Connors wins Rita over by whisking Phil to an animal sanctuary in the rolling Pennsylvania hills.
© iStockPhoto.com/Jeff Goulden
Will Phil correctly predict the weather? Will his alarm clock finally play a less annoying song? You'll have to see the movie to find out. Who knows, our on-screen happy ending may influence real life, just as Free Willy did.
Written by Joseph King
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.