Hell no I won't go
Due to the events of the past week I decided to re-post my drive thru of a month ago...I must have known this was coming...
People who look critically at Niagara Falls Tourism will always point to Marineland as the trailblazer. It was the place that put money into advertising the Falls to the rest of the world long before anyone else did. You have to admit that “Everyone Loves Marineland” jingle that has been playing all these years on late night TV was, and is, a classic ear-worm.
To be honest, most businesses then tagged along on Marineland’s advertising coattails for years. And to be just as honest ...I’ve never been through the doors of the place.
As much as I admire their business acumen I don’t don’t like the business they are in.
Animal rights activists’ have protested in front of the park for years but this week the numbers swelled due to the publicity of the last ten days. And it put me in mind of the problem I have with the park.
Marine parks and circuses really conflict me. Years ago I rode an elephant into the ring to open the Shrine circus and was honoured to do it because of the incredible work that Shriners Hospitals have done for children in North America for decades. However, after my ride I went behind the big top to see where these gentle giants and the other animals lived as they travelled from town to town.
What I saw has stayed with me since. Huge animals forced to live in cages for a great deal of their lives…allowed out only to walk around an empty parking lot for a few hours or to perform for our entertainment. These were remarkably intelligent creatures who were slowly forced into a life of drudgery, servitude and, eventually, depression. I had the opportunity, some years later, to see elephants in their natural habitat and the difference was more pronounced than you could ever imagine.
You can say that it sounds like typical leftie media fluff but there is a light in their eyes when you see them in that environment…they communicate. You can't miss the difference between that spark and the dead eye attitude of animals who have given up and are only waiting to die. You can see the same thing in the creatures of the sea..whales, dolphins and the like. This doesn’t mean that the animals handlers and trainers mistreat them or anything of the sort…its just the nature of their captivity that is so inherently wrong.
The Marineland protests had me thinking again this week about why I don go despite my grandchildren's requests. In a way it's all about the children and the message we send them. Shrine Hospitals do unparalleled work with children. My own family has been touched by their generosity. So I’m conflicted when they come to town. I’m hoping that soon the Shrine can find another way to fund the work that they do. Something that does not include forcing animals to perform on command and live in the back of a truck. I’m afraid until that happens, just like the whale and dolphin shows, I won’t go. Whether or not you do is up to you; but if you choose to, do me one favour. Look into the eyes of the elephants or the whales…really look. After that its up to you.