Animal Justice: Don’t Let Kiska’s Death Be In Vain | Unpublished

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Unpublished Opinions

James OGrady's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

I am the founder of Unpublished Media Inc., a company I started in 2012. I am also a communications professional and community activist, living in Nepean, Ontario. And, I am a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate for grassroots, participatory democracy at all levels of government.

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Animal Justice: Don’t Let Kiska’s Death Be In Vain

March 25, 2023
Kiska the Killer Whale; Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media

Earlier this month, Animal Justice shared the tragic news that Kiska, the lone orca at Marineland, has died. She was Canada’s last captive orca.

Kiska was born in the ocean with her family, but was stolen from the waters of Iceland when she was only three years old, and forced into a miserable existence in a tank for the rest of her life.

For over 40 years, Kiska lived at Marineland. Kiska gave birth to five calves—Kanuck, Nova, Hudson, Athena, and a calf who wasn’t given a name. All of her babies died at young ages, and after her tank mate Ikaika was returned to SeaWorld in 2011, Kiska spent the last 12 years of her life in solitary confinement.

Orcas are incredibly social animals who thrive in complex social groups in the open ocean. But Kiska was condemned to a small, miserable tank and forced to live all by herself. In recent years, videos were released of Kiska slamming her head against the side of her tank and floating listlessly. She couldn’t tell us with words that she was hurting, but her actions were loud and clear.

Animal Justice lawyers have been working for years to help Kiska and end the suffering that captive whales endure in Canada. We mobilized supporters and politicians to help pass a national ban on whale and dolphin captivity in 2019, to ensure a kinder future for these incredible animals. Our legal team also filed multiple legal complaints on Kiska's behalf, urging law enforcement to investigate her well-being and take action.

Animal Justice has also been supporting the Whale Sanctuary Project’s groundbreaking work to build a seaside sanctuary in Nova Scotia for whales rescued from the aquarium industry. We wished with all of our hearts that Kiska could have been liberated on time to live out her remaining years at a sanctuary... Sadly, time was not on our side.

While the Animal Justice team and I were completely distraught when we heard the news of Kiska’s death, we will not let her death be in vain.

Marineland has a long history of animal abuse charges, but has so far escaped prosecution and conviction, including from charges stemming from Animal Justice legal complaints. Despite these setbacks, we’re not giving up.

We believe the suffering that Kiska endured at the hands of Marineland is blatant animal cruelty. It’s illegal to cause animals to suffer and experience distress—including psychological distress. That’s why we’re now renewing calls for prosecution against the marine park.

Animal Justice lawyers are also exploring other legal avenues that we can take to seek justice for Kiska, while continuing our vital work to help protect the dozens of beluga whales and dolphins still held captive at Marineland.

To learn more please visit the Animal Justice website >