Listen: whistleblower story that Marineland threatens to sue journalists for disclosing

Phil Demers worked as an animal trainer at Niagara Falls, Ontario's Marineland for 12 years before resigning because he believed that the animals in his care were being mistreated and he did not believe that his employers would listen to him or his colleagues' warnings about this.

After a series of high-profile stories in national Canadian media, including the Toronto Star, Marineland has brought lawsuits against Demers and his girlfriend (who also worked at Marineland), seeking millions in damages.

Jesse Brown from the Canadaland podcast booked Demers in as an interview guest and sent a list of questions to Marineland, seeking comment on Demers' allegations, but Marineland sent him a letter threating to sue him "to judgment" if he allowed Demers to repeat his allegations on the show.

Brown independently investigated Demers's allegations, spoke to counsel, and ran the story anyway (MP3).

I listened to the interview this morning. The conditions that Demers describes at Marineland are beyond any kind of decency. The close relationship between Marineland, a prominent employer in an economically depressed town, and the local SPCA and Humane Society offer a plausible explanation for how such terrible treatment could persist over such a long time. I visited Marineland on school trips as a child and learned to sing its jingle along with every other Ontario kid thanks to its carpet-bombed ads. This story makes me sad -- at the plight of the animals as described by Demers -- and angry -- at having been complicit in the treatment Demers describes.

Publication of the false allegations by Mr. Demers will result in a lawsuit in which you and your organization will be sued to judgment.

There is no public interest in his false allegations and if there ever was, it has long since expired.

Your allegation that the false allegations have any relationship to existing or proposed legislation is not logical and is factually incorrect.

The legislative history of the present legislation reflects no such relationship. Secondly, there are no proposed changes to the new legislation and none are related to any of Mr. Demers’ false allegations.

The repetition of false allegations under cover of a report of a lawsuit is not of any public interest, unnecessary to the story and is malicious.


Everyone Loves Marineland [Canadaland]