Sun, Sep 04, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Ocean park denies dolphin abuse claim

By Wang Chun-chi and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Farglory Ocean Park in Hualien has denied a media report of animal abuse at the park.

A report published last week by the Chinese-language Business Weekly magazine said that “dolphins at the park that cannot be trained are put to death — the survival rate for the animals is 60 percent.”

The article said that the information came from a former park employee.

The park held a news conference on Friday, saying the information is false and that it maintains the right to sue Business Weekly and Lin Sheng-chi (林勝吉), who was quoted in the article, for slander.

Business Weekly has since removed the article from its Web site and Lin has denied responsibility.

Lin said that he wrote the content for the article last year in the form of notes that were later compiled into an article by the Humanistic Education Foundation without his knowledge or approval.

Business Weekly later used the foundation’s article, also without his knowledge, Lin said.

Lin said that the interview he conducted with the former park employee in February last year was done for “educational purposes.”

As Business Weekly’s article was written without consulting him, it contains muddled details and lacks important information, such as the date of the interview, he said.

“I am also a victim,” Lin said, citing changes to his original article’s headline, which he said misguides readers, as well as the legal implications of the article’s publishing.

Lin said that when he learned about the article, he called Business Weekly to have the article removed from its Web site, adding that he is communicating with the magazine and the foundation.

Farglory Ocean Park chief executive officer Wu Fang-rong (吳方榮) said it is unfortunate that the article was published without verification.

He called the article a “deliberate fabrication that is harmful to the park’s reputation,” adding that the park is “not ruling out using legal channels in the near future, as it needs to protect the reputation, professionalism and hard work of the park and its team.”

Ensuring the well-being of the animals has always been the park’s focus and it has invested more than NT$10 million (US$315,427) over the past few years on equipment and the training of its staff at local and international institutions, Wu said.

The park has also established a network to share information about the medical conditions of the whales and dolphins at the facility, Wu said, adding that the former employee who was interviewed was an inexperienced person who was complaining about the park.

Meanwhile, the Hualien County Government’s Bureau of Agriculture said the county does not set requirements for medical checks of marine animals and that it makes evaluations about the animals’ conditions based on information it receives.

However, it added that it has received reports from spectators at the park who had concerns regarding animal treatment, to which it has responded on numerous occasions with guidelines for improvement.

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