Statement of Solidarity with Marineland Animal Defense/Dylan Powell
OneFight would like to make explicitly clear our unwavering and fully invested support in both Dylan Powell and Marineland Animal Defense (MAD hereafter) during this time of intimidation and aggression by the now notoriously shameful Marineland Canada. We recognize that others, such as Christine Santos have been served as well, and we are also in full support of her defense.
The situation with Dylan Powell and MAD is a clear cut example of a SLAPP suit after the campaign against the park had a banner year when more than a dozen whistleblowers, as well as undercover footage from inside the park, and a series of mainstream press articles made public information that MAD had known for years, and activists in the area had been protesting for decades. None of MAD’s actions have ever been violent towards any employee at Marineland, nor has any property been damaged, even when a mass of protesters symbolically entered the park on the final day of 2012 in an act of civil disobedience to picket and eventually end the dolphin show in progress—not so much as a single garbage pail was overturned, nor even one piece of material removed from the site, and all protesters exited the park peacefully and orderly. Only one trespass ticket was issued despite more than 100 people breaching the turnstiles. Yet, the suit against Dylan claims that these peaceful and at a great majority entirely legal actions have somehow been in breach of civil law, intimidating, harassing, and are sufficient for a 1.5 million dollar claim.
Conversely, at demonstrations activists associated with MAD have been verbally assaulted and threatened by owner John Holer. On numerous occasions he has been recorded saying he’d cut the head off of individuals and has attempted/threatened to hit others with his truck. Materials denouncing freedom of expression and the legitimate concerns of protesters have been erected illegally on public property (signage warning of protesters and instructions to ignore them.) Permanent signs not being the only misuse of public property; city council was propositioned and accepted a proposal to lease public land to the park in order to make legal protesting suddenly illegal on property owned by the municipality of Niagara for the purpose of “beautification” before the season in 2012 (only to have nothing happen to the leased parcel but regular grass cutting). Increasingly this past year hostility has escalated. Peaceful law-abiding people demonstrating across from the gates were frequently harassed and intimidated through threats as well as in a few isolated cases physical contact/harm. We think it is laughable that MAD is being painted as the aggressor at this juncture.
Dylan Powell has always sustained pressure on the person who has the ability to end this tomorrow should he choose to: John Holer. Dylan has never been rattled nor dissuaded by threatening letters from lawyers nor threatening remarks from animal abusers—this time will be no different. His strength and his success will be partly due to his tremendous character, but by equal measure, the response and support of his community and kin. This is where we must all stand up, step in, and speak out. He is not alone and we must ensure that he, nor Marineland do not ever forget that. With the mainstream media covering the story in the park, MAD and Dylan both could have remained separate in their organizing and likely insulated themselves from a lot of potential litigation, but understanding that these stories and the animals inside have an urgent need to get out of Marineland, these risks were accepted. They have now come to collect, and that is why we all must continue to rally together, and create strong associations and networks of support. If you are a member of an organization, or you feel inclined as an individual, please send us or MAD a statement of support so we can collect and publish them.
During this time, it is important to support all of those who have been and will yet be served, but we feel it is but also important to support Dylan as he is being sued because of his active involvement in the resistance to animal cruelty at the park. This supposition is further corroborated by the fact that unlike the others, Dylan’s papers contain injunctions that would, if Marineland is successful, make it unviable for him or some other activists to organize against or protest near the park itself. These actions are not about Marineland wanting retribution, they are about crippling the opposition to captivity and stifling the gains MAD has realized this year. Dylan’s suit is not because he spoke about secrets he was made privy to because of his job, nor because he broke any laws, contracts, non-disclosure agreements or promises. On the contrary, Dylan’s suit is about silencing the resistance through the false assumption that if they remove the head the body will die. This is why this statement, and any other statement that any group or individual wishes to issue is so critical. Dylan is not the head. Dylan is our comrade, he is our peer, he is our brother, he is us. If you take him out, 5 more will take his place, and they will be emboldened by anger over this offense against our cohort and fueled by the desire for justice.
This lawsuit is meant to scare our community, and fracture it, but it will only knit us tighter together. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.
The movement cannot be stopped, not by any measure of money or any pack of lawyers. It cannot be stopped because we as individuals are not moving anything—it is the ground that is moving and if Marineland, John Holer and all the animal abusers out there cannot keep pace with the changing landscape, they will surely fall, and that will be no ones fault but their own.
Forever with Dylan, MAD, the animals, and all who resist—until the bitter end,