Former Orca Trainer Slams SeaWorld, Urges Brits Not to Visit

 Former Orca Trainer Slams SeaWorld, Urges Brits Not to Visit

London – “Confined in shallow, barren tanks with little physical, psychological, or emotional stimulation, the intelligent, sensitive animals in these parks become distressed and ill,” writes former senior SeaWorld trainer – and New York Times best-selling author – John Hargrove. “But the power to shut down these cruel parks does exist, and it lies in every visitor’s hands.”

In an exclusive piece for PETA, Hargrove reveals the horrific toll a lifetime of captivity has on these animals. “Physical and psychological damage endured by human prisoners in solitary confinement is well documented. Orcas at amusement parks such as SeaWorld suffer the same fate,” he writes.

As a result, Hargrove notes that hundreds of whales and dolphins – along with other animals – have died on SeaWorld’s watch after suffering from a host of health problems, including pneumonia, infections, traumatic injuries, encephalitis, and other ailments caused by extreme confinement.

Hargrove – who spent more than a decade working with 20 different orcas and other marine mammals – resigned from his position as senior trainer so that he could speak out publicly about the horrors endured by whales and dolphins and detail the terrible effects of captivity on their physical and mental health. “Animals at SeaWorld and other marine parks should be moved to coastal sanctuaries where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace, and these watery prisons should be closed forever,” he writes.

In the meantime, Hargrove urges tourists to “vote with their wallets” by never visiting parks which hold orcas, other dolphins, or other marine mammals captive.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – notes that travel giants Tripadvisor, Virgin Holidays, and British Airways Holidays refuse to promote facilities that imprison orcas, yet the UK’s largest travel association, ABTA, lags behind. Its inaction allows ABTA members such as TUI to continue to profit from animals’ suffering by selling tickets to venues that confine these sensitive, intelligent animals to cramped concrete tanks.

For more information, please visit or follow the group on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]