Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Cure For Toxic SeaWorld is Blackfish Bill AB-2140

Amidst the Blackfish backlash, toxic SeaWorld throws a bone to California politicians and Wall Street

Instead of responding to public pressure & collapsing stock, SeaWorld doubles down on captivity. In lieu of taking the proverbial high road  (phasing out shows, placing its female killer whales on oral contraception, & leading the way on coastal sanctuaries)  SeaWorld pompously announces more captivity, more pools, more breeding, and international expansion. 




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What just happened & what can the Animal Justice / Blackfish Movement do about it? 
(Hint: AB-2140 & more Blackfish)


All Eyes on California

The proposed Blue World Project is a media play. Plain & simple. 

[Rolled out to a live audience with a suspenseful unveiling, complete with rumors planted the day before, & some ball-park figures provided to Wall Street. It was a spectacle]




Back to reality, there isn't much information on how the proposed "Blue World Project" would impact the Mission Bay ecosystem. As recently as 2012, SeaWorld was cited & fined for polluting it. Subsequently, its hard to believe that SeaWorld can begin digging a massive hole on city property, with additional water treatment equipment, without due process. This would include environmental impact studies and approvals from regulatory agencies including the California Coastal Commission and the city itself. SeaWorld leases the land from San Diego. Check out this excerpt from Frank Gormlie of the  San Diego Free Press 23 October 2012:


SeaWorld is not just any corporate entity. Outside of the thousands of birds crapping in the water, one of the biggest polluters of Mission Bay is SeaWorld itself. Just earlier this year, SeaWorld was fined $6,000 for dumping excessive ammonia and animal waste into the Bay. (See Fox5 video here and “SeaWorld Cited for Exceeding Mission Bay Effluent Limits” in an article by Matt Potter, March 20, 2012 in the San Diego Reader.) 
SeaWorld is the largest discharger of water into the Bay and has been a known polluter of the body of water, as the bay has been on California’s list of impaired water bodies for several years as it does not meet the Clean Water Act standards.


A large proposal that will likely require city & regulatory approval 
Next, note the relatively long timeline for implementation, and also how it will happen one park at a time. This gives the #SeaCircus plenty of wiggle room and lowers risk. 

If AB-2140 passes, the San Diego "Blackfish puppy-mill idea" will likely evaporate, as breeding captive killer whales would then be illegal. Faced with that, SeaWorld could halt the plans, or even shift the project to Orlando, a site that makes more sense, once you remove the politics. I discuss this in a moment.  



Artificial insemination into a young female with ungloved hand
In general, company officials have made it clear that expanding the breeding program is a big reason for the proposed addition. In regard to its business model, which includes the unethical 
artificial insemination (AI) of unnaturally young female killer whales, CEO Jim Atchinson told The Today Show earlier this week...
“We make no apologies for what we do and how we do it.” (SeaWorld)


Here's the deal:  SeaWorld is banking that this gesture will win it votes in the California legislature, and don't expect quick action. I predict major construction on Blue World (at least in San Diego) will not begin until after a final vote on AB-2140 is counted. The company may stage a "ground breaking ceremony" for the press. But one shovel-load does not dig you a 50 foot pool with added water treatment capability, plumbing & an "orca treadmill."

Hence, all eyes on California!


Assemblyman Richard Bloom needs help from a growing coalition of concerned citizens. Consider following Mr. Bloom, and spreading the word about AB-2140. These are live Tweets, from him:  



More Blackfish Leads to a Broader Community

The Blackfish Effect will continue to happen. Intermittent airings by CNN, stellar sales at Amazon for the DVD, and availability at Netflix & Red Box continues to bring aboard more and more people that wish to end captivity. Some fine folks hope for the right of "bodily liberty" for "non human persons." These awakened friends add to a growing army of regular people that seek justice for killer whales, an end to poaching, sensible regulation of farms, and more oversight for corporations.





SeaWorld is worried, and they should be, because a critical mass of informed consumers has been achieved, with backlash coming from people & students from all walks of life, as well as from both sides of the political aisle. For us, as a community, its time to craft the transformational political change we need, and that involves taking on a corporation at the ballot box. The Blackfish Effect needs to be converted into political action. That is happening, and please tell your friends. 

The animal justice movement is growing with each airing of Blackfish. Thank you Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and producer Manny Oteyza






"Once you see it, you cannot un-see it." 




True. Blackfish is a one-way door, a gateway, and a powerful tool. SeaWorld is currently caught in the "Blackfish Effect." To get a sense of what the Blackfish Effect is, see how it has affected the lives of some of the cast members of the film:


Excerpt from a Q&A at Superpod-3. Of note, Superpod-4 is scheduled for July 20-24, 2015. 





Why San Diego? Yep, It comes back to AB-2140

Considering that the Orlando park is more profitable, sees more visitors, is home base for corporate headquarters, & has cheaper construction costs, you'd think that the Blue World Project would start there. So what gives?  

According to this report by WKMG-TV / Orlando, CBS Affiliate, as well as the SeaWorld web page, "The San Diego project is expected to open in 2018. New killer whale homes will then be constructed at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio."

Choosing San Diego is a strategic business move. This accomplishes at least five things for SeaWorld: 


An Artist's Rendering of the proposed "Blue World Project" 

1. Shows that they're doing something in response to public sentiment & collapsing stock value

2. This proposal provides cover to vote down Blackfish Bill AB-2140SeaWorld gives a lot of money to campaigns in California, and politicians are happy to take "donations." 
Assemlymen who might buck public opinion & strike down the bill, can now cite "Blue World Project" as an example of how the company is evolving. 


To get a feel for public opinion in the state, watch this heartwarming video about three young ladies who delivered 1.2 million signatures to the California Assembly in support of a bill that would ban captive breeding of Killer Whales in the state.





3. It shows Wall Street they're "all in" and gives pro-SeaWorld Voice of San Diego plenty of feel good stories to publish. VOSD hosted a good live debate, but tends to frame SeaWorld's presence in San Diego as a beneficial, economic one, without much regard for the killer whales suffering in captivity. When captivity of killer whales gets reduced to economics, by Wall St, or VOSD, it misses the point. The coverage has been helpful to SeaWorld. 


Atlantis The Palm was heavily promoting its marine park on Emirates Airlines
4. The new pool, if AB-2140 is shot down (i.e. SeaWorld gets its wish), will become a #Blackfish "puppy mill" for SeaWorld's overseas expansion. In my opinion SeaWorld couldn't be happier with the ongoing Russian captures (more genetic material), and is looking carefully at opportunities in the United Arab Emirates, specifically Dubai, where there is already a large marine life park itching to get some killer whales. 



I've written about this with co-author John Jett PhD in an upcoming textbook chapter regarding animals in entertainment. I believe that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is gearing up for killer whales, and combined with company statements, will likely get them from SeaWorld. This effort, to breed animals as quickly as possible, is a way to get more animals into places like the UAE, for a very hefty price tag. 


Personal Photo. Departing Dubai International Airport. Boeing 777. Emirates Airlines. 


Placing killer whales into a region where temperatures regularly exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with little regulation or oversight, is a disturbing thought.



5. It changes the conversation, at least temporarily. SeaWorld has been getting bashed in the media, lately. This is a way to change the subject, for a while (see image of "Blackfish Wednesday") 


With plenty of money, a desire for Killer Whales, and pre-existing captivity infrastructure, Atlantis The Palm is a predictable destination for SeaWorld and the killer whales it is actively breeding. Note: Air temps in Dubai regularly exceed 120 F


SeaWorld Just Doesn't Get It


In general the proposed Blue World Project is a striking indicator that SeaWorld really doesn't get it. It also points to the incompetence of the management team as described in this Dodo article by Keneth Leher. His five points are worth restating:

1.  The SeaWorld brand is now tarnished, at best.

Toxic? Likely. The brand represents the torture of whales for an increasing population of concerned citizens. If you love whales (and who doesn’t), you don’t like SeaWorld. 
2.  Wall Street has turned on SeaWorld.
The stock is down over the last year by 45% and $1.6 billion in market cap has evaporated. You can sometimes fight City Hall, but it’s nearly impossible to fight Wall Street. And Wall Street is done with SeaWorld. 
3.  Consumers are turning away from SeaWorld.
Attendance has dropped 4.3 percent over the first 6 months of 2014. It takes forever and a day for consumers to return to a company once they have walked away. And they usually never come back. 
4.  The internet has turned against SeaWorld.
Blackfish,” The Oceanic Preservation Society, The Dodo, over 100,000 users on Change.org and many other sites have made it their business to actively campaign against SeaWorld’s mistreatment of animals. SeaWorld can’t survive that, plain and simple. 
5.  Incompetence. 
SeaWorld has proven itself totally inept in dealing with one, two, three and four. They haven’t got a clue.


Get active links to all of these Blackfish Wednesday Headlines HERE

















In summary, SeaWorld really doesn't get it, and hopefully changes can be made in middle & upper management that will improve the quality of the management team & improve the future lives of the killer whales in its care.  

"Blue World Project" does not address the issue of broken teeth, collapsed dorsal fins, diminished quality of life, social strife, and shortened lifespans, all of which are caused by captivity. 

Blackfish remains a critical tool in a growing movement. Lastly, AB-2140 is the cure for what ails Toxic SeaWorld


Jeffrey Ventre, MD, is a physician, Blackfish cast member, and former SeaWorld trainer from 1987-1995. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Four Piece Lecture Set from #Superpod3

This article contains three Lectures and a Q&A from #Superpod3, with more material to be posted at Voice of the Orcas  

Please dig in, as there's a lot to share & a lot to learn about Southern Resident Killer Whales, Russia vs China, Lolita, and salmon (aka pink fish for blackfish). Also, linked below is 34 mins from a Blackfish movie expert panel. Samantha describes the European screenings & the impact the film is having around the world. 

The additional material, to be posted under one tab at the site, will store interviews, a statement from Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, via Kimberly Ventre, and Monday Night (World Orca Day) lectures. We will archive all of it under one tab at VOTO, but here is a sneak preview of the approved interviews. 

If you are interested in #Superpod4, the event will be July 20-24, 2015, on San Juan Island, WA, USA 



(1) Dr Chris Caudill lectures on Salmon with historical context, challenges, damnation, salmon life cycle, patterns: http://youtu.be/jQdcoZXo1ls


(2) Howard Garrett lecture on Lolita: http://youtu.be/4QvUeHKdfbA

(3) Blackfish Panel Q&A After movie screening (the first 34 mins only) : http://youtu.be/Mb791vmpSUE

(4) Dr Naomi Rose lectures on legislation/regulation including comments on Russia v China, belugas, more : http://youtu.be/3P18nuf-_ME

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Schedule of Events for Superpod Three

Superpod Three begins on World Orca Day, Monday July 14, 2014, and lasts for one week. Below is a schedule of events which will be updated as new information comes in. 

Not including the many local participants, naturalists, boat & business operators, Center for Whale Research staff, & more, approximately 35 - 50 additional human Superpod members will migrate to San Juan Island, WA, USA, to learn, present, share, Tweet, blog, plan, get inspired, cross-pollinate, & take stunning photos & videos to share with the world. 






These are the real Blackfish. And none of them have stage names like Shamu, Namu, or Baby Shamu

Two "Blackfish" jump for joy at their summer home in the San Juan Islands, WA, USA 

The event will be the most attended one, yet. There is good news regarding the whales, too. June Chinook (salmon) numbers are good, thus far. The "J's and L's" are already swimming in the waters around the island & when the "K's" arrive...  a true, complete Southern Resident Superpod will commence, with local customs & traditions, including an annual whale greeting ceremony, and more. If you've not seen a Superpod, check out "Voice of the Orcas" video here: 





Previous Superpod events have included film crews from Blackfish, the Non-Human Rights Project, The Humane Society, & journalists like Tim Zimmermann, & David Kirby, who have written extensively about the plight of killer whales in captivity. Many keys journalists, former trainers, documentarians, and more have gotten their first exposure to wild killer whales from San Juan Island, and also at the Superpod One & Two events, 2011 & 2012, respectively. 


Here's a screen shot of the island showing distribution of current rental properties & hotels. Click to expand the view. 


Notice Kanaka Bay & Tilikum in the ocean. The dots represent Superpod Three Dwellings 



Daily Excursions & Events 

Each day on Island, pod members will be out on the water, possibly on a whale watch boat, kayak or sail boat. Or maybe on land, at Lime Kiln State Park, watching as the Southern Residents swim by. Or lastly, spending time in beautiful Friday Harbor enjoying a craft beer with some grilled oysters at Friday's Crab House.  Usually, after whale watching the pod congregates at public and private spaces for presentations, food & spirits. Below, you'll find a current list of events that will be updated as more presenters check in and add details. 



Monday: Meet and Greet / Orientation in Friday Harbor at 2 pm.  Get off the WA State Ferry and meet some of the event organizers. 

Friday's Crab House from 2:00 - 4:00 PM (Upper deck)
Get Jerry's Famous Grilled Oysters with Capers Sauce




Friday's Crab House on the water in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA, USA 


Presentations will begin after 7 pm at the "VOTO-2" House on the West Side of the Island 


Learn about Taiji from a Cove Guardian, Rachel Carbary. Followed by "Dolphin Drive History 101" by Jordan Waltz (see below).  


Rachel has organized the global #EmptyTheTanks events, and will give a presentation on her experiences at the annual small cetacean slaughter & sale at Taiji, Japan.

Witnessing this was her inspiration for "Empty the Tanks." Rachel told VOTO,



This past November, when I was in Taiji for a second time, I watched dolphin trainers ride on a skiff with dolphin killers and dead dolphins on board. The slaughter exists because the captivity industry exists. Every time someone buys a ticket to SeaWorld or MarineLand or any park with cetaceans, you are encouraging the dolphin killers of Taiji to continue their bloody business. It doesn’t matter if SeaWorld doesn’t have dolphins from Taiji. Other parks in the world do, so if you go to any park that is using cetaceans for entertainment, you are encouraging new parks to be built in other parts of the world, like Dubai and those dolphins will be victims of Taiji’s annual slaughter and capture season. It’s simple supply and demand. Take away the demand and you eliminate the need for the supply.



Presentation Two: Dolphin drive history 101:  A presentation on when and how the drives the started and how they became entwined with the captivity industry, as well as how activists have tried to halt it over the years. Presentation duration will be 20-25 minutes. Jordan will present a printed out illustrated timeline where people can view it & provide feed back.


Jordan Waltz is A Midwest artist and independent researcher who has served as archivalist/researcher for Blackfish documentary.



 Tuesday:   Free public Blackfish Screening hosted by the The Whale Museum. Note: The location of screening is just two buildings down at The Grange, in Friday Harbor  



Come see the Whale Museum at Friday Harbor and meet the staff & up to 8 members of the Blackfish Cast 


5:30 Meet & Greet reception at The Whale Museum (light refreshments provided)
6:00 Move to the Grange (just two buildings up the street) for the film
6:10 Welcome audience & start film
6:15 Screening of “Blackfish”
7:40 Q & A conversation with the cast, immediately following film
8:45 approximate end time



Wednesday:
 Voice of the Orcas hosted Media Day, with journalists in attendance. There will be interviews & film from the house & deck overlooking the Haro Strait. (See "Whale Party Central" on island map). We are hoping for some whale "fly bys" as the day unfolds.




That morning VOTO, along with Dr Naomi Rose, is tentatively scheduled to be on L.A. Talk Radio with Capt Paul Watson & the Barbi Twins at 11:00 a.m Pacific time. 


Wednesday evening, Howard Garrett of Orca Network (ON), will give a presentation on Lolita. 


Later, John Jett PhD will give a PowerPoint presentation called, "Survival Estimate for Captive Killer Whales" 


Lastly, Colleen Weiler,  Whale & Dolphin Conservation first ‘Rekos Orca Fellow, will do a presentation on the recent "Russian orca collections.


This deck, overlooking the Haro Strait, will be a big part of media day (and possibly some drone launches)


Thursday:   


Superpod3 Group Whale Watch Trip on the Western Prince II with naturalist Traci Walter (@TeelDubya) and others. The excursion departs at 10:00 am from Friday Harbor and we will meet by the Western Prince offices next to the ferry landing between 9:30 - 9:45 a.m. 


Presentation that evening by Dr. Naomi Rose on the topic of current legistlative & regulatory issues regarding killer whale / cetacean captivity. 








THURS: PRESENTATION ONE: "Pinkfish for Blackfish: The role of salmon recovery in sustaining the Southern Residents"

Dr Chris Caudill is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at the University of Idaho. His broad interests are in the ecology and evolution of animal movement and the conservation of aquatic resources. He holds a MS from the University of New Hampshire (1995) and Ph.D. from Cornell University (2002). He conducted postdoctoral research at Georgia Tech before joining the Fish Ecology Research Lab at the University of Idaho in 2003 for a second post-doc. He has directed the FERL program since 2008, largely focusing on the migration ecology of adult salmon, Pacific lamprey, and American shad in the Columbia, Snake, and Willamette rivers.

PRESENTATION TWO:  Humpbacks of the Silver Bank by Jeff Friedman




Friday: 

War of the Whales Day. Meet Ken Balcomb, legendary killer whale scientist, Principle Investigator of the Center for Whale Research (CFWR), and primary character in the just-released non-fiction book, War of the Whales. Ken & his research staff will be hosting a social event at the CFWR.



Friday's event will occur at the Center for Whale Research, on the West side of San Juan Island. See map above. 



Saturday:


Book Signing 2-4 pm at The Whale Museum

Sandra Pollard's, Puget Sound Whales for Sale







Sunday / Departure

If you've never seen a wild killer whale, join us this year, or plan to come to Superpod 4. For what it's worth, the co$t of our Western Prince II boat trip is about $30 USD less than a single day ticket at SeaWorld of Florida

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

SeaWorld Floods Debate Audience with Paid Employees to Cheer & Jeer


Back on October 12, 2012 the marine mammal industry paid homeless folks, and others, $22 per hour to sit in line and occupy chairs at a NOAA hearing in Silver Spring, Maryland. This was done to flood available spaces at the hearing with "hired hands," to "represent" the cruel practices of the captivity industry, by doing nothing. 

You can read  about it and see images of the actual "line sitters" in the article linked here:

Read all about the above in this great article by Elizabeth Batt HERE


Specifically, these folks were used to block out the work of NGO's & animal welfarists who wished to testify, or hear testimony, against the idea of importing 18 wild caught belugas that were captured on behalf of SeaWorld, the Georgia Aquarium, & the Shedd Aquarium. The industry paid tens of thousands of dollars to block a democratic process that should have been open to all that were interested, by using mostly poor people as pawns. NOAA denied the permit, but the industry has since appealed the decision. 


That was then. This is now...  

Despite accumulating scientific evidence that orcas suffer in captivity, SeaWorld continues to spread misinformation & use propaganda & stunts, similar to the disgraceful one used at the NOAA hearings, in 2012. Maybe the company is desperate, especially since recent polling data, HERE, shows that only 21% of the American public support keeping killer whales in captivity; 50% oppose; and 29% are undecided. 



Same Corporate Tactics in 2014


On June 5, 2014, Voice of San Diego (VOSD) hosted an-open-to-the-public SeaWorld Round Table event composed of SeaWorld killer whale trainer Kristi Burtis and Veterinarian Todd Robeck, head of the company’s breeding program, plus Naomi Rose PhD of the Animal Welfare Institute and professor Susan Gray Davis, who’s researched the park’s business model. The event was also live streamed and described by VOSD in economic terms: 


"SeaWorld has a significant economic footprint in San Diego. During its 50-year history, it's generated millions for city coffers and employed thousands of San Diegans. But a controversial documentary has raised big questions about SeaWorld's treatment of its trademark killer whales." 



Watch as SeaWorld's veterinarian, Dr. Todd Robeck, concludes the 90 minute debate with a tearful plea on behalf of the captivity corporation.  





With its brand hemorrhaging followers, corporate partners, stock holders, and social capital, the easy way out would be to admit mistakes, apologize for the failed experiment, and move forward with a progressive business model; move away from marine mammal captivity. 


NOT for SeaWorld. 


The company, still largely composed of corporate cowboys, is hanging onto captivity like the Koch Brothers hanging onto climate change denial.  It's become laughable



Read how SeaWorld has become a "Laughing Stock" HERE 


Thus, instead of letting the debate venue fill organically, and represent a true cross-section of the interested public, SeaWorld decided to (once again) flood the hearing with more "paid place-holders," this time using its own employees, shipped in courtesy of company vans. SeaWorld knows that far more people are now opposed to it's business model than support it. And it couldn't risk being outnumbered & embarrassed in this public forum.  


This SeaWorld van was one used to transport employees into the debate


You have to give credit to SeaWorld for one thing... 

this time they got a better deal, as the average wage at SeaWorld is far less than the $22 per hour that they & the Georgia Aquarium paid the line sitters at the NOAA hearing. 


Our only question is whether the employee place-holders were getting overtime pay

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A Few Tweets that tell a story... 














Friday, May 30, 2014

Telling the Truth is a Revolutionary Act

Telling the Truth is a Revolutionary Act
By Jeffrey Ventre & Carol Ray 


The public condemnation of SeaWorld in the wake of the documentary Blackfish has put the theme park's crisis-management team into overdrive. 

State Legislators in New York and California have proposed bills to ban or end captivity in those states. Just yesterday, 38 US Congressmen sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, citing outdated regulations protecting cetaceans and assert that the current rules don’t reflect “updated science." We couldn't agree more. 



Read about it HERE at The Dodo or Read about it HERE at CNN


Despite overwhelming evidence that killer whales are not suited for captivity, the giant captivity corporation continues to spread misinformation to hold onto a tired business model that the U.S. public has outgrown. Scientific polling data collected by Edge Research and commissioned by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) & Whale & Dolphin Conservation (WDC), released on 26 May 2014, can be viewed HERE. Only 21% of the American public support keeping killer whales in captivity; 50% oppose captivity; and 29% are undecided. With those numbers its clear to see why politicians are finally jumping on board the anti-captivity train.  



Read about SeaWorld's Misuse of Dr Ingrid Visser's research HERE 


As former SeaWorld trainers, we can offer a firsthand perspective on this controversy. We participated in Blackfish with the hope that the public would learn about the very real suffering of killer whales at SeaWorld. This is reflected in measurable ways, including shorter lifespans, broken teeth, collapsed dorsal fins, and social strife



SeaWorld's asking supporters to battle the Blackfish Effect 
We watched as young orcas were forcibly separated from their mothers to be shipped off to other facilities. We listened to the mothers' wails of despair. Katina, a nurturing and conscientious mother, has tragically had five of her seven offspring taken away from her. 

Katina currently lives with Nalani, her daughter who was fathered by her own son Taku, and young Makaio. Tragically, soon after impregnating his mother, Taku was separated and shipped to SeaWorld of Texas where he was killed at age 14 by a West Nile Virus infection transmitted by a mosquito bite.

SeaWorld spins these traumatic separations by defining youngsters who are no longer nursing as "independent." That's like saying a 5-year-old toddler is ready to be taken from his or her family. In the wild, orcas rarely leave their family pod and the bond between mother and child lasts a lifetime.


TO LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT KATINA & HER CALVES, CLICK ON THIS ARTWORK BY LEE HARRISON
Incredible Art by Lee Harrison, New Zealand          http://okura.deviantart.com/        @kiwiokuraorca 













There's an abundance of evidence that captivity kills orcas, usually at a young age, and that stress, social tension and poor health are chronic issues among orcas held in marine-park facilities. Genetically adapted to spend their entire lives within the complexity and security of family groupings, orcas captured from the wild have been denied the comfort and mentoring that these communities provide.



Read an article about this data HERE.    See the Edge Research memo HERE


Killer whales at SeaWorld are confined to small acoustically inadequate concrete pools, where they must live in extremely close proximity to other whales, with whom they often share no ancestral or cultural connection. The squabbles and tension that result are exacerbated by the fact that they have no way to escape. Subdominant animals like Tilikum have no where to run, and he has no mother to provide him with any social status in the artificial pod. So he gets beat up, picked on, and isolated for his own protection. Those higher on the social ladder are like schoolyard bullies, ramming and raking (dragging their teeth over) more submissive individuals. 



Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise: 



Serious injuries, including bites in which chunks of flesh are torn off, are not uncommon. SeaWorld's tanks are only a a tiny fraction of the area through which an orca would move during a single day of swimming in the wild.

SeaWorld's orca "inventory" in no way benefits orcas in the wild. In fact, the park's whale catchers devastated an orca population off the coast of Washington state by removing so many individuals to be used in theme parks. (Watch: "45 Southern Residents were taken.") Many orcas have died prematurely in SeaWorld facilities from violent accidents, preventable injuries, illnesses caused by stressful living conditions and many other causes, and the park has never released a captive orca back into the ocean.


3 Young Ladies deliver a petition of 1.2 Million Signatures in
Support of Richard Bloom's California Blackfish Bill AB 2140
SeaWorld reports 1.5 billion dollars in ANNUAL revenue, yet over the past DECADE has contributed $9 million to conservation, rescue and rehabilitation. Thus, only 0.0006 of its profits are funneled back into conservation. And conveniently, some of it's "beachies" wind up in display areas, helping generate more profits. SeaWorld has spent close to nothing on providing the whales and dolphins in its facilities with comfort, a real life or a plan to transfer them to a coastal sanctuary, where they would be able to feel the tides, communicate with far-flung friends and family members and experience the immensity of the ocean, where they belong. Instead, SeaWorld of California was cited for polluting Mission Bay in 2012. How’s that for conservation? 




SeaWorld's well-financed public-relations machine is designed to deflect and deny, and it is an expert at spinning twine into gold. But the riveting documentary Blackfish has drawn back the curtain on what George Orwell is said to have called "universal deceit." That curtain can never be closed again.

 

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To Watch a GIS Tour of The Blackfish Effect produced by Michelle Duncan   @Chicasyoga  Click HERE







3 May 2014 in Rochester, New York
Carol Ray MA CCC-SLP earned a B.A. degree in Psychology from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, after which she worked for several years training cetaceans at Seaworld of Florida. Carol serves on the expert board for the Free Morgan Foundation, and is a co-sponsor of proposed CA state "Blackfish Bill" AB 2140 which seeks to end captive orca performances and captive breeding. An outspoken freedom advocate, she has been a featured presenter at many orca related events in the Pacific Northwest. As a lover of marine life and an extensive traveler, she cherishes the opportunities she has had to experience whales and dolphins in their natural environment, around the world. Carol earned a Masters Degree (MA)  in Communicative Disorders from the University of Central Florida & is currently the owner/director of three busy pediatric speech therapy clinics in the Seattle area. She can be reached on Twitter at @CarolRay_WA

Jeffrey Ventre MD DC is a board certified medical doctor who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is also a board certified doctor of chiropractic. He practices in Central Washington State, treating patients with disabilities ranging from spinal cord injuries to back pain. He worked as a marine mammal trainer at SeaWorld from 1987–1995, spending seven of eight years with cetaceans. In June of 1996 he participated in “Orca Survey” with Ken Balcomb and Dr. Astrid van Ginneken, an ongoing photo-identification study of the Southern Resident community of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest. Seeing free-ranging killer whales radically altered his perspective. In 2011 he co-authored a paper with John Jett, PhD that describes the health issues and decreased lifespans of captive orcas. He's since teamed up with Dr Jett on two additional peer-reviewed scientific papers as well as an upcoming book chapter regarding animals in entertainment. He was subpoenaed in 2011 as a witness for the federal government in the case of OSHA vs SeaWorld. He can be reached on Twitter @jeffrey_ventre