My name is Phil Demers. I worked at Marineland Canada for 12 years. Now I'm fighting for their animals.

Comments: 114 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

DrunkenSQRL36 karma

In the 12 years of you working there, has there ever been a fire? Specifically at the sea lion show?

PhilDemers44 karma

Indeed there was. Interesting that you would know that since few do. The roof above the barn caught fire. Nearly smoked out the sealion area. A cop friend of mine came to my house and rushed me there to evacuate the animals. When I got there, the firefighters were ventilating the area.

DrunkenSQRL26 karma

Wait? Really? I was just referencing this

PhilDemers11 karma


BigTex200022 karma

How much longer do you think parks like Seaworld will survive? Do you anticipate that eventually places such as zoos and various sealife parks will simply close due to lack of patronage?

PhilDemers37 karma

Lets Hope SeaWorld gets onboard and supports the establishment of a seaside sanctuary to retire their whales, dolphins and porpoises to. Some may be released, some not. Stop breeding and provide for them a dignified life with a semblance of a natural world. People won't return to the parks until they do.

Wrinklestiltskin18 karma

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced?

I recommend linking your go fund me page to the post here as well to get more donations.

Also, if you end up being prevented from commenting because your account is new, contact the mods and they'll fix that. You will know by a message along the lines of "you're doing that too much"

I wish you the best of luck.

PhilDemers22 karma

Biggest challenge I've faced is getting lawmakers to create tangible laws to protect the animals. Lots of lip service, not enough action from Kathleen Wynne.

Slippery_Jim2 karma

To be fair do you think you would have got a better response from a corporate loving Conservative government that barely even cares about people much less animals?

PhilDemers7 karma

When it comes to animals and law, no Government wants to touch it - so they give it to the OSPCA and wash their hands of the issue. We banned orca captivity in Ontario - certainly no small feat. Lots of work to do ahead.

d748r0k512 karma

why that walrus so skinny?

kungfooweetie6 karma

Yeah, is it malnourished or is there another problem? Are they simply not feeding it correctly?

BadGuy_ZooKeeper17 karma

From the other thread, he said that the walrus constantly regurgitates its food and plays with it, because it has almost no mental stimulation.

PhilDemers17 karma

Correct. Captivity is literally killing Zeus.

dohrk11 karma

Is Kevin Smith involved somehow?

PhilDemers28 karma

He once liked a tweet of mine.

MopsyWT11 karma

Have you or anyone else been able to observe any increase in animal health since awareness was brought to this issue?

PhilDemers13 karma

In the case of Smooshi the walrus, absolutely! I believe she would be dead today had I not spoken out.

dyskgo10 karma

Why is John Holer able to get away with all of this crap? Not just the abuse of the animals at Marineland, but also stuff like threatening to kill people or shooting people's pets?

I really don't get why he isn't behind bars already.

PhilDemers17 karma

Beareh7 karma

During your time at MarineLand, have you noticed a decrease in patrons?

PhilDemers17 karma

Their attendance is in steady decline, despite Niagara Falls boasting a 20% increase of tourism.

Silver1c37 karma

I am so sick and tired of animals living in captivity STRICTLY for human enjoyment. Zoos claim they help with conservation which I am much more likely to buy than this shit. Marineland and Seaworld need to be outlawed. This type of shit just destroys me inside. ANYWAYS end of my rant... question: What is the reason these animals are so hard done by? Is it lack of staff? too small of an enclosure? untrained staff? or management just trying to pinch pennies whenever they can?

PhilDemers14 karma

All of that, compounded by the stress and fear that some animals can never shake after being captured from the wild. Some reject a life of captivity outright -

Silver1c35 karma

ugh... how did you do this for 12 years? I feel like id just ball my eyes out everyday having to force feed a dolphin, or knowing it died in a sad, lonely state. You are stronger than I.

PhilDemers10 karma

Hight3chLowlif36 karma

What can your average Joe do besides clicking like?

PhilDemers9 karma helps. Our lawsuits hold the keys to cracking open Marineland's books.

catcaste5 karma

What do you hope happens to Smooshi in the end? What do you want for her?

PhilDemers9 karma

I want her moved to a facility that can better address her needs, and that I can be a part of her life when she needs me.

catcaste4 karma

Sorry for the added questions. It's basically the question I meant with the first one.

What kind of facility? I know with orca's, sea-pens for animals that can't be reintroduced are considered best practise by a lot of people. What kind of facilities etc, are considered best practise for walruses? What kind of environment, stimulation, room etc do they need to flourish in captivity?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my first question. I hope that you're reunited with her soon.

PhilDemers4 karma

There is an outdoor exhibit in Quebec that would be better suited for her. At least she'd see the sunlight and I could visit. Beyond that, I'd like to think that future whale sea pens could offer an area for pinnipeds. Obviously it would be a controlled environment, but Smooshi and I could take long walks on a pebbly beach.

Gorflub4 karma

Better proof please.

PhilDemers8 karma


SuaveMF3 karma

Attorney here. Why they suing for millions when they know they can't collect it (unless you're wealthy)??

PhilDemers4 karma

It's a SLAPP suit. They just want to silence me. The legal process itself is pretty grueling, so they're leveraging it as a means for revenge.

SuaveMF2 karma

They have bankruptcy in Canada?

PhilDemers3 karma

They do. Marineland is bound to declare it at some point.

sallezzbrookahz3 karma

Podcast with Joe Rogan and Phil Demers, for anyone interested and wanting more info.

Phil, How can the rest of the world help? I am from Sydney,Australia for example. Writing to my local member won't really do anything I dont think?

PhilDemers1 karma

A contribution to is always helpful - otherwise spread the message, pics and videos. The Internet has no borders!

spadababaspadinabus2 karma

What was the hiring process like for working at Marineland? I'm assuming that you didn't become aware of the problems until you were already working there, but was there anything shady about it in retrospect?

PhilDemers3 karma

My first day at Marineland, my job was to scrub orca blood off the arcade floor. The area where the sea lions lived was jaw droppingly sad - but I assumed the people who knew stuff about animals figured it to be a good place, so I decided to stick it out. Eventually, I just got used to the environment. I was a kid, what did I know about whales needs?

MaiBsquared2 karma

How would a place like marine land manage to hide these problems from CAZA and AZA?

PhilDemers4 karma

CAZA is an industry association. Marineland pays them dues. They'll never bite the hand that feeds them. I used to tour CAZA personnel. They were there to facilitate all of Marineland's needs, including mitigating the damage done when 15 whistleblowers spoke out.

Shadows232 karma

Are you worried they'll win? Do you have a strong case against them?

PhilDemers2 karma

They won't let this get to court. The only way they can "win" is if they bankrupt me before we can get to court. I won't let that happen - and so we continue the chase.

themoldencrustedmidi1 karma

Have your experiences with Marineland altered your opinions of different animals, including those you didn't work with?

PhilDemers3 karma

Indeed. Witnessing and experiencing the hardships imposed on captive animals really opened my eyes. It simply isn't worth it.

Sickdayz1 karma

What are you being sued for?

Sickdayz1 karma

You ever eat walrus?

PhilDemers5 karma


the_sharpest_knife1 karma

What's on your shirt?

PhilDemers1 karma

It's a SaveSmooshi T-shirt. Been fighting Marineland for a long time now!

the_sharpest_knife1 karma

Nice. Can I donate to your cause by buying one? You may have posted it and I missed.

PhilDemers1 karma

I tried gifting shirts for contributions but the overhead was just too much. Maybe I'll try again in the future though!

RoyalThirdStables1 karma

Big fan Phil love what your work has done, do you ever think they will attempt another rehabilitation of an Orca like they did with Keiko? When will you be on Rogan again?

PhilDemers2 karma

There will definitely be more rehabilitation and releases of captive orcas - guaranteed! I'm saving my next Rogan appearance to promote the book Marineland will surely sue me for. Gonna be an eye opener.

NathaleyaBlackfyre1 karma

Has anyone tried to bribe you to stop? If yes, what did you say?

PhilDemers2 karma

No bribes. Wouldn't take money. I have promises to those animals to keep.

OddishGirl1 karma

Do you think there will be a drastic change within a decade?

PhilDemers2 karma

There's already drastic change, starting with Marineland's abysmal attendance - today being the worst I've ever seen!

BoozorTV1 karma

Which animals do you feel are the least impacted by captive life ? Thanks.

PhilDemers1 karma

I'm not a fan of captivity, but if I had to pick 2 animals that can stomach it, in my experience that would be seals and sea lions. Chlorine messes with their eyes - but in a proper facility, this shouldn't be a problem.

firebathero0 karma

when's the next time you're going on joe rogan's podcast?

PhilDemers3 karma

As soon as my book is published.

rufioWBC0 karma

Are you open for a float this labor day weekend?

PhilDemers3 karma

Very yes.

rufioWBC0 karma

Will the Bills make the playoffs???

PhilDemers2 karma

Can we get Flutie out of retirement?

melnet67-3 karma

I don't think a picture of a guy hugging a walrus is proof enough that he actually worked there.... And I don't think anybody who had actually worked with marine mammals in captivity would actually be for releasing them into sea pens or the wild. After living in filtered and clean water their whole life they wouldn't have the immunity to survive.

(Haven't worked with marine mammals but have with other species groups in aza zoos)