Thursday 26 May 2022 | 7

Discredit and distortion of the truth: Marineland’s games at the hearing on 25 May 2022


Mis à jour le 20 June 2022

At the interim relief expertise hearing following our summons on Marineland, the dolphinarium played the distortion of the truth and discredit card on the experts whose reports we delivered to the magistrates. It is a known method, if you want to counter the truth without any evidence: state that it is a lie and discredit the opposition.

Hr blog

We have just come out of the hearing at the Grasse Legal Tribunal, where Marineland treated us as liars, stated that the experts having written the reports on Inouk and Moana were anti-captivity activists, and even pleaded for us to leave them to work in peace... As if they could change jobs without exploiting animals!

To be precise, we simply requested that the tribunal decide to arrange for an independent expert. Neither did we demand to have access to the animals, or even for the experts that we appealed to have them. The aim is to assess Inouk and of Moana’s state of health (and to a greater extent that of the water and the facilities, but still with the same aim). Following this logic, the management team at Marineland should agree with us! Why refuse?

“The stakes are important in this case file”

The President of the Tribunal announced in the preface:

« I know that the stakes are important in this case file. I will remind you nevertheless that we are in an emergency interim hearing and that your defence speeches must not be a mere reading of your respective scriptures. »

Teeth and skin: we have exposed Inouk and Moana’s serious health problems

Our lawyer then spoke and reminded everyone that the subject — the state of health of the orcas who are being kept at Marineland — could be seen as unusual, but that the proceedings remain common. A request for an expert opinion on the state of the tanks, the water, and the problems that this has on the state of health and welfare of the orcas kept at the dolphinarium.

She recalled the damning reports that highlighted a very damaged state of health for Moana, 11 years old, and Inouk, 23 years old.

Dr Visser could see sub-dermal tissue damage on Moana:

« [She] recommends that Moana be taken to a sanctuary beside the sea where there would be more space, with natural seawater and appropriate medical aftercare. At the least, he should no longer be expected to perform circus tricks in exchange for his food, his participation in shows should stop immediately and he should not be expected to perform while he has subdermal tissue damage. Other less stressful activities should be put in place to help maintain Moana’s physical form, including daily exercise sessions during which he is not required to ‘perform'. The aggravation of the sub-dermal tissue damage is worrying because it indicates an underlying problem in this facility. »

As for Dr Gallego, he declared in his testimony:

« The orca Moana’s state of health as it appears in the images seems critical to me and requires urgent veterinary care. The pathological process that Moana seems to be suffering from is likely to put his life in danger. My professional opinion is therefore that Moana should be subject to diagnostic tests as quickly as possible and receive treatment conformant to the best standards of veterinary medicine for cetaceans. »

We added that an extensive medical analysis should therefore be carried out, and that it is for this reason that we are asking for a designated expert.

Marineland’s unchanneled aggression, lies, and fool’s games

The lawyer for the Côte d'Azur-based dolphinarium, on her turn, spoke and demonstrated an astonishing aggression as a defence. Regarding the condition in which the orcas are kept, she stated: “When we read One Voice’s publications, we are given the impression that the park is a kind of no man's land that does not follow any rules. [...] One Voice feels that the orcas should be nurtured in sanctuaries and more so in parks. Whether they like it or not, Marineland has a right to keep and use them.” Even at the detriment of their health, it seems...

Trampling over the diplomas and experience of the specialists we have called on

She claimed that we were breaking the law, then proceeded to a full bashing, dismissing the reports and opinions of marine biologist Ingrid Visser PhD, veterinarian Pierre Gallego, John Jett PhD, and Jeff Ventre MD by not recognising their competence, despite it being proven. “These people are not veterinarians or experts. The reports have been written by anti-captivity activists.” At no point did she say ‘professor’ or ‘doctor’, but ‘these people’, ‘these men’, or ‘this woman’.

Marineland’s argument? They are members of the Whale Sanctuary Project, the sanctuary under construction with which we have developed a partnership (in fact, they are members of the scientific council, which incidentally is not the case for Pierre Gallego, who is only an advisor). According to the park, they are therefore anti-captivity fanatics. From their side, the dolphinarium offers a trainer’s certificate. Including who is capable.

An expert... in training! And a veterinarian that does not specialise in orcas

According to the park, Inouk has had dental weakness since he was little, has been treated for it, and therefore does not suffer.
They presented a testimony from a ‘European zoological expert veterinarian’. Except this veterinarian consulting at Marineland is not a specialist in orcas, or even in cetaceans! It is also worth noting that he does not even reside in the region and therefore cannot ensure regular monitoring of the animals.
The opposing counsel finished by alleging that in the wild Inouk would already be dead... However, in the wild, the only endangered orcas are those that were wiped out by the captivity industry in the 1970s.

Equally for Moana, the dolphinarium swept aside the demonstration work by the specialists. According to them, the report that we presented “contained unclear photos”, and Dr Gallego “flaunted pseudo-problems”.
The dolphinarium then presented a testimonial from Mr Gojceta who took the initiative to come and see the situation for himself, alerted by our publications, we are told. But he is nothing more or less than a dolphin trainer, coordinator for bottlenose dolphins on the European Programme for endangered species. What is the link with orcas? Furthermore, he is not a veterinarian and resides in Attica where Ekinox was sent (Femke’s son), a Greek park condemned for having operated without any authorisation for 4 years.

Lies and crocodile tears

The lawyer claimed that our complaints for Inouk and Moana had been filed with no further action taken. Oh really?! What a strange statement even though we have not until this day received any classification decision. We have brought awareness to the industry that accuses those who defend animals of lying while lying themselves.

Finally, they have tried to appease the court by arguing that “the park staff feel insulted by these proceedings: they bring love and care to the animals” and that they should leave the dolphinarium in peace...

The decision should be returned on 30 June.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

One Voice is bringing Marineland in Antibes to justice for Moana and Inouk. The hearing is on 25 May in Grasse One year on from the death of Femke, the authorities are still tackling her autopsy report...

Comments 7

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Olivo | Monday 06 June 2022

Je ne vais plus depuis longtemps dans ces parcs, cirques où les animaux ne vivent qu'une vie de souffrance.

MOUMOUNE | Wednesday 01 June 2022

Encore de la maltraitance, ils vont finir par les faire mourir, assez de tout cela, je ne supporte plus cette souffrance sur tout ces animaux, il faut que cela s'arrête !!!!!!

Maecki | Tuesday 31 May 2022

Si vous passez du côté d’Antibes abstenez-vous d’aller au Marineland…tout simplement. Expliquez aux enfants que les animaux y sont très malheureux et qu’en refusant d’aller les voir, donc, si les parents ne payent pas ceux qui les maltraitent, les enfants ont le pouvoir de faire cesser le malheur des orques, des bêtes intelligentes et sensibles.
La sensibilisation par les enfants, c’est aussi simple que ça.

Dine Go | Tuesday 31 May 2022

Stop à la captivité les animaux ne sont pas des clowns