Singer of Marineland ads to probe claims of animal suffering
Published Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:17AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 16, 2012 9:21PM EDT
The singer of the Marineland ad jingles says she plans to investigate the recent allegations of animal mistreatment at the amusement park.
"I was very shocked and saddened to read the article published today in the Toronto Star describing animals suffering neglect and illness at Marineland. No animal should ever suffer, especially at the hands of human beings,” Suzie McNeil said in a statement released via her publicist.
The Toronto Star on Wednesday reported that a number of former Marineland employees have spoken out about ongoing patterns of neglect at the amusement park.
A former trainer at the park said he had no choice but to leave his job of 12 years after witnessing some of the animals endure horrendous suffering due to ongoing problems with the park’s water.
“The dolphins, their skin was literally falling off, flaking off, eyes clutched shut. The sea lions, bone dry on deck, lethargic, really not responding, no appetite whatsoever. You could see their spirit had been broken,” Phil Demers told CTV’s Canada AM on Thursday.
Since the allegations against Marineland came to light, a number of petitions have begun circulating calling for the park’s closure.
McNeil said she was hired to perform the vocal jingle eight years ago, was paid a flat rate and receives no residuals.
“Because of the original contract, Marineland owns and has the right to continue using that recording, despite my feelings,” McNeil said. “I plan on investigating this issue further, and doing anything in my power to help these animals.”
Demers said the water in the park’s tanks took a turn for the worse after a machine broke down last September, which he said is not uncommon.
However, Demers said this time, very little was being done to remedy the problem.
“We as trainers voiced our opinions, the maintenance staff and the vets, everyone tried. We did what we could.”
He said the water was dumped and replaced on his last day with the company.
“I had to leave. I didn’t have a choice in the matter, or where would that water be today?” Demers asked. “I couldn’t be a part of that no more.”
Demers said advocates should pressure the park’s owners to better the conditions for the marine life.
In a statement emailed to CTV News, Marineland said the animals at the park enjoy well-maintained facilities, high-quality diets and exemplary veterinary care.