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Jul 11, 2013

The Cost of Free Speech: $1.5 Million Dollars

According to the lawyers at Marineland, free speech doesn't come cheap. $1.5 million dollars to be exact, the amount they are suing my husband, Mike for.

Marineland is an amusement park located in Niagara Falls, Canada which has operated for years with marine and land animals as part of their attraction. In the last two decades, 20 beluga whales, 14 orca whales, and 6 dolphins have died at the park, all prematurely and these animals are buried in a mass grave at the back of the park. The park also has bears which are forced to beg for sugary corn pops from visitors, and deer who are shot by the owner instead of given proper vet care when they are sick. The park's last orca whale, Kiska, is forced to live in tiny, chlorine filled tank alone with no other whales to socialize with. She has watched all 5 of her babies die.

In the past couple of months, my husband has taken up the cause of protesting and passing out information about Marineland. The owner, John Holer has done everything in his power to stop his efforts and the efforts of other activists from leafleting outside the park. Holer and some of his employees have blocked their path, called the police, and threaten them with death and violence.

All this to avoid all the visitors to his park from learning the truth about how the animals are really treated behind closed doors.

Finally in a last attempt to silence my husband, Marineland has decided to sue him for $1.5 million dollars. They are also suing 4 other people - former Marineland staff members who spoke to the press about park, and one of the founding members of the Marineland Animal Defense. The newspaper, The Toronto Star, who picked up the news story is also being sued by Marineland.

Holer has been using his money and status for years to bully the little guy. He bought the Green Oaks trailer park in Niagara Falls in 2010, and evicted 47 families from their homes which resulted in the suicide of one resident, Paula Millard. This property which he so desperately required at the time, now sits vacant 3 years later.

My husband and I believe greatly in ending animal captivity and cruelty, and as such we refuse to back down from Mr. Holer just because he is trying to silence us with his scary lawsuit. Fighting this though will take a lawyer and money, two things which we don't have currently. So we are asking other like-minded individuals who believe in anti-captivity, anti-cruelty, or even just freedom of speech to help us fight the good fight with a small donation of whatever you can spare.

We are currently collecting donations to our defense fund via paypal: mikegarrettdefensefund@gmail.com

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