Trainer warns of more SeaWorld killer whale attacks on humans

SeaWorld killer whales that are stressed in captivity could attack more people in the future, a former trainer has warned.

Former trainer John Hargrove said in a report released on Monday the whales face a “life of quiet desperation” that could eventually lead to “violent behavior” as well as “fatal attacks”.

“Physical and psychological harm sustained by human prisoners in solitary confinement is well documented,” he wrote for PETA’s website.

“Orcas at amusement parks like SeaWorld suffer the same fate.

“From my 14 years of experience I can tell you that I have personally witnessed the orcas – like other dolphins and marine animals – suffer the same physical and psychological trauma.”

“Imagine spending your whole life trapped in a small enclosure,” he added.

Hargrove then referred to the tragic 2010 incident in which his colleague Dawn Brancheau was killed by an orca named Tilikum.

Hargrove said that the orca “wasn’t the villain in the story,” stating, “Nor is he the only orca at SeaWorld to kill a trainer. We have had countless serious injuries and near deaths caused by many different orcas throughout my career.

“In addition to causing chronic health problems, detention causes extreme stress that leads to violent behavior and fatal attacks.”

killer whales
SeaWorld announced it would no longer farm the sea creatures but said it would keep the remaining ones in an offering.
AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack
John Hargrove
John Hargrove believes the whales’ enforced captivity has resulted in a list of physical and behavioral problems.
CBS via Getty Images/Austap Wolfgang

More than 40 orcas and 400 dolphins and whales have died at SeaWorld, according to Hargrove.

In addition, Hargrove claims that the sea creatures would normally die from pneumonia, infections, traumatic injuries, encephalitis, heart failure, as well as “other diseases caused by extreme confinement.”

He also claimed that many orcas broke their teeth after chewing the concrete in their enclosures, and many even banged their heads against the walls of their aquatic cages.

Dawn Brancheau, whale trainer
SeaWorld orcas suffer from the same violent behavior as whales.
Tribune news service via Getty Images

Amid its campaign efforts for better living conditions for the animals, PETA has urged visitors to boycott trips to SeaWorld.

Hargrove left SeaWorld over a decade ago before campaigning for orcas to have better living conditions in captivity.

In 2016, SeaWorld announced it would no longer breed the sea creatures, but said the remaining animals would be kept to “provide important experiences for visitors to our parks.”

SeaWorld did not immediately respond to a message asking for comment. Trainer warns of more SeaWorld killer whale attacks on humans


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