US & Canada

Canada's Marineland faces animal cruelty charges

A peacock with its tail
Image caption The park has been charged with five counts of animal cruelty (stock image)

A Canadian wildlife park has been charged with five counts of animal cruelty - including allowing a peacock to be in distress.

Marineland, in Niagara Falls, was also charged with failing to provide adequate food and water for 35 bears, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) said.

Three final charges relate to failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care for a peacock and guinea hens.

Marineland deny the allegations.

The company told the BBC the accusations were made by "a former animal care worker who was fired for poor performance and inappropriate behaviour".

It said the peacock - "one among thousands of birds" - had a problem with its eye but was otherwise healthy. It also blamed the OSPCA staff for upsetting the guinea hens and said the concerns over the bears' food were due to some small labels being left on pieces of fruit.

The park spokesman added there had never been concerns raised about the bears' access to water.

However, the OSPCA, which has not removed any animals but is continuing to monitor the situation, says further charges are likely to follow.

Spokesman Alison Cross said: "If convicted, they could face a CA$60,000 ($44,300/£35,500) fine, a lifetime ban in owning animals and up to two years in jail."

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