Tags: seaworld | trainer | speaks | out | orcas

SeaWorld Trainer Speaks Out After Leaving Park Over Orca Treatment

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Mar 2015 07:21 PM

John Hargrove, a former orca trainer at SeaWorld, has joined the outcry against the company for keeping orcas in captivity, speaking out in a newly released book: “Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, Seaworld and the Truth Beyond ‘Blackfish.’”

Hargrove left SeaWorld after becoming disillusioned with the company’s treatment of orcas.

"As I became higher-ranked, I saw the devastating effects of captivity on these whales and it just really became a moral and ethical issue," Hargrove told NPR. "When you first start to see it, you first try to say, 'OK, well, I love these animals; I'm going to take care of them.' ... You think, 'I can change things.' And then all these things, of course, never improve and then you start ... seeing mothers separated from their calves; you start seeing trainers being killed, and then they blame [the trainers] for their own deaths."

The controversy was underscored by the 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by an orca. The 2013 documentary “Blackfish” covers Brancheau's death and an earlier death of a trainer in Spain.

Christopher Dold, SeaWorld's vice president of veterinary services, said the criticism of the company is exaggerated and denied claims that mothers and calves are separated.

"That sensationalism is unfounded. Every decision we make around a social setting for the whales [and] around moving a whale from one park to another one is founded in respect for the animals," he told NPR.

Hargrove worked with 20 whales during his career, which spanned 12 years at SeaWorld and two years in France, USA Today reported.

"Despite what SeaWorld says they are definitely not thriving, and they're not even surviving," Hargrove said.

Hargrove told WKMG-TV that he tried to change conditions at SeaWorld from inside the company.

"I could not pull it off. The only true way to change this that's left is to leave and speak out and tell people my story," he said.

On Monday, SeaWorld launched an advertising campaign focusing on the company’s caring for animals.

Twitter users commented about the ongoing controversy.









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John Hargrove, a former orca trainer at SeaWorld, has joined the outcry against the company for keeping orcas in captivity, speaking out in a newly released book: "Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, Seaworld and the Truth Beyond 'Blackfish.'"
seaworld, trainer, speaks, out, orcas
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2015-21-24
Tuesday, 24 Mar 2015 07:21 PM
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