A Special to Niagara At Large by Karl Dockstader
So my oldest daughter Kathryne and I took my youngest daughter Amelia to Marineland today. We caught wind that Marineland Animal Defense had a parade/march planned for this Victoria Day weekend so we figured we would tag along on this nice day.
What a fitting way to start the day as “Marineland Mom” told her simple and humble story. She had asked if her child could not be sent to Marineland for an “educational” field trip and that Stoney Creek school decided that there would be no more trips to Marineland.
That mom’s thoughtful act of objecting to her child’s class trip to Marineland caught the hearts and minds of the public and the debate resumed catapulting Marineland’s dated practice of using animals for the joy of spectators to wrangle cash back into the spotlight. Enslavement is not entertainment, which was a theme of this day, and it’s not education either, which was her important point.
As the parade commenced we jarred tourists from emptying their pockets into the tourist traps en route across Niagara’s scenic roads. Our rallying cries were met with honks of support, cheering, shame filled avoidance of eye contact right down to disdainful head shaking at us. It was an un-orthodox parade of information but our crowd made it clear that “Marineland Sucks!” and it is time to “Shut it down!”
Kathryne, Amelia and I chanted our little hearts out. We hadn’t had this much fun in a march since #idlenomore. We snacked and chanted the crowd messages as we mingled, and we marched up and down all the hot spots in Niagara Falls with the group.
When we hit our destination, it was clear our journey was a success. Kathryne and I, who had been to Marineland separately on previous occasions, made Amelia’s first visit there a special one. And her visit was different from ours. Her visit was actually educational.
We didn’t watch starved trapped animals do parlor tricks to alleviate their hunger. We watched a determined inspired group of millennial’s feed the meter of hope. Amelia and Kathryne, like many children, love animals, but we now know that loving animals means more than admiring them.
Loving animals means that sometimes we have to go out of our way, even to great lengths, to show them that we respect and love them. We did that today, making Amelia’s first trip to Marineland a success.
The only drawback is that we may have to go back soon and often until everybody starts loving animals as much as we saw from the young people leading the March on Marineland today
.Karl Dockstader is a resident of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Turtle Island. He is a father, husband, and lover of all of creation, including animals, and is an occasional contributor to Niagara At Large.
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