"Everyone Loves Marineland!" (?): Entertainment Animal Advocacy, Praxis, and Resisting Corporate Repression
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Following allegations and graphic evidence of animal cruelty and neglect documented by ex-employee whistleblowers of Marineland Canada to the Toronto Star newspaper in late 2012, the ethics surrounding animal captivity have been increasingly contested in regional public discourse. Animal advocates in the Niagara region and beyond have been compelled to demand change at the infamous local captive animal park— whether it be welfare-oriented reform, or radical animal liberation. With this as a backdrop, this research explores the ideologies, experiences, and strategic tactics of anti-Marineland animal advocates; the sociopolitical issues surrounding the largely unexamined but serious issue of imprisoned animals as entertainers; and the ensuing governmental and corporatist attempts to squash dissent of anti-Marineland critics. Situated within a Critical Animal Studies theoretical paradigm as well as a flourishing global anti-captivity critique inspired by the film Blackfish, this project employs semi-structured interviews and participant observation methodologies to analyze advocates' views on captivity under capitalism and the effectiveness of their praxes. Finally, this research illuminates the nuances of the conventionally-upheld dualistic theoretical debate of animal welfare versus animal rights within zoo and aquaria entertainment contexts through an exploratory examination of advocates' complex ideological views.