Applaud Former SeaWorld Trainer for Defending Orcas


Target: John Hargrove, Former Orca Trainer at SeaWorld

Goal: Praise former trainer for speaking out against SeaWorld’s practices.

John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld trainer, has publicly spoken out against SeaWorld and its practice of keeping orca whales in captivity. The former trainer argues that orca whales, in particular, are not meant to be kept in tanks due to their immense size and intelligence. He goes on to say that doing so not only harms them, but puts the people in charge of training and working with them in great danger. This man is trying to save the whales he once trained and deserves our commendation for speaking out against his former employer.

In a recent book that details his experiences working for SeaWorld as an orca trainer, Hargrove delves into some of the abuses suffered by both the animals and their trainers. For starters, he claims that at least 19 orca calves were separated from their mothers in the time he worked there. To make matters worse, Hargrove also says that SeaWorld routinely covers up this practice when it communicates with animal rights groups.

Hargrove has also said that being in the water with orcas is extremely dangerous. He likens doing tricks with them to being hit by an SUV—he has personally been dragged underwater in the jaws of an orca on multiple occasions. These facts coupled with several deaths of other trainers should be enough to get the parks closed, yet they remain open.

The fight against SeaWorld will not be won in a day, but the denunciation of one with so much knowledge about its operations will surely go a long way to swaying public opinion and getting the parks closed for good. If activists are to finally end SeaWorld’s reign of terror, this man must be commended and his message must be spread. Please sign below to ensure that this information reaches all.


Dear Mr. Hargrove,

In your recent book detailing the inner workings of SeaWorld, you denounce many of the company’s practices and for that you have my thanks. As someone who has worked closely with orcas, you are well aware of their intelligence and their need for space that only the earth’s oceans can provide. As you say in your book, keeping them cooped up in tanks is not only harmful to them, it’s dangerous for their trainers as well. The untimely death of a trainer just a few years ago is clear proof of that.

I personally believe that the SeaWorld parks should be shut down for good. While your speaking out against them has not led to an immediate closure, it will hopefully teach the public how the parks operate, and eventually lead to better conditions for their animals and employees. Speaking out against a former employer is difficult and, in your case, commendable. Please continue to advocate for these whales, and those who work with them, in the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Marcelo Campos via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Hope you can all wade through the typos. I get in a hurry, but unlike FB, I don’t know how to edit on this page. Sorry!

  2. If only more trainers, veterinarians and other staff that worked with these marine animals (or any others in captivity) had the courage and integrity to stand up for what is right and moral, our precious wildlife would not be suffering, as they now are.
    We need more people like John Hargrove to support and speak up for animals in need. Even when the USDA knows of serious violations, nothing much seems to change. It is very sad and appalling that many organizations, of all kinds–circuses, zoos, private exotic ownership, marine parks, factory farms, puppy mills, fur farms, etc–have not been forced to improve conditions, be banned or shut down. It seems that only with a continuous deluge of public outrage, whistleblowing, voting for politicians that care about animals, and dissemination of the facts in petitions, books, films, etc., is there any possibility that our incompetent, negligent and corrupt government agencies will be forced to act to help our animals.

  3. It’s my hope that SeaWorld will do what Barnum is doing, removing elephants from circuses. It’s time SeaWorld fesses up that keeping the orca in captivity serves no purpose other than cruel confinement and mental anguish. Keep up the good work John. Education and public awareness is the key.

  4. These baby Orcas have been treated like the baby elephants that are beaten when they are trained. There couldn’t be a worse cruelty than to remove a baby Orca from its mother. These whales are intelligent enough to mourn the loss of the baby. I also believe that if the mother were to be reunited with the baby as a adult Orca if it survived, she would recognize it. I wonder if this ex-trainer might know where some of the babies ended up? I’d like to find out what happened to them.

  5. THANK YOU JOHN !!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. renee jeanine ragno says:

    Those who do this show that they have morals, ethics, integrity and honor and should be applauded!!!!

    More need to have the backbone and courage to stand for innocent, helpless animals who suffer for simple for greed, ego, fear, gluttony.

    Take a look at the problems we face, people are the cause and for what reasons?

    Take a stand!!!

  7. charlsie lyon says:

    Please shut them down now.

  8. charlsie lyon says:

    Years ago I tried to watch a show using these beautiful animals. I couldn’t. This is so sad to see them doing what is so unnatural for them. Jumping yes, but not in a small tub and not for the amusement of paying customers. Please release them and let them jump for joy. Let them be what God made them to be.

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