Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Marineland Denies Allegations Animals Neglected at Niagara Falls, Ont., Park

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Marineland Denies Allegations Animals Neglected at Niagara Falls, Ont., Park

Article excerpt

Marineland denies animal neglect at park

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NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. - A veterinarian at Marineland and the organization in charge of monitoring animal welfare are denying allegations of animal neglect at the Niagara Falls, Ont., amusement park.

In a series of articles published by the Toronto Star, former Marineland staff have alleged animals were not being properly cared for at the park.

Dr. June Mergl, head of veterinary services at Marineland, says the allegations are without context, and notes that maintaining the welfare of the animals is a "balancing act."

"I can certainly testify to the quality of veterinarian care that we provide to the animals and the quality of staff care," she said, adding that constant monitoring of water quality is required and infections can occur for example when machinery breaks down.

"Unfortunately, sometimes some things don't work out as well as we'd like to -- it isn't a perfect world."

Toronto city Coun. Michelle Berardinetti called for the provincial government to investigate the allegations and cast doubt on the ability of the monitoring organization, Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, to do its job.

"These tragic stories would clearly indicate a high level of incompetence within CAZA with respect to inspections," she said in the letter. "The media articles clearly indicate that they fail to oversee the health and welfare of animals under the care of zoos and aquariums adequately."

Bill Peters, the national director of CAZA, said the organization has a rigorous inspection process for sites like Marineland.

"Any zoo or aquarium that wishes to become accredited and a member of our association has to go through a pretty detailed and comprehensive process," he said.

Peters also said that CAZA sends a team of investigators to spend several days examining Marineland and facilities like it every five years.

"If during that five-year period there are any problems that come to our attention whether that is in the form of complaints from visitors or media reports about the operation of that facility, the committee is empowered to investigate and take whatever action seems appropriate in the circumstances. …

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