Despite insisting that Blackfish is having no impact on its business, SeaWorld continues to invest heavily in a PR counter-attack on Blackfish and the former trainers who appear in the film.
It’s latest minute-by-minute critique of Blackfish was perhaps the most detailed, and most tediously off-base, critique it has issued yet.
Below you will find the Blackfish production team’s rebuttal. What’s…
Thank you Tim
I have been combing idly through newspaper archives, don’t mind me. This is from 1976 also.
I figured it may be relevant to some to see that that the rhetoric here is almost identical to what we’re seeing right now with AB2140.
I would highlight bits, but the whole thing’s of interest.
"SeaWorld has the potential either to earn the support or the opposition of conservationists. It has the potential for conducting genuinely educational work, but the evidence to date suggests that the business rather than the educational interests are dominating the management decisions."
Would you look at that. Not a single thing has changed since 1976.
John Hargrove’s powerful Testimony in support of AB-2140
On 8 April 2014 California AssemblyMan Richard Bloom called upon three witnesses to testify on behalf of his Bill AB-2140, dubbed the “Blackfish Bill.” Those witnesses were Drs Naomi Rose & Deborah Giles, and former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove. This video is John’s testimony. As an ex employee he offers a behind-the-scenes account of what really happens to killer whales in captivity.
Link to entire day of witnesses is here:
Excellent piece by Jaime:
If you ever wondered why some folks are critical of Blackfish, this article will provide you the answer. (Hint: They are still in the pro-cap pro-capture industry)
MONTH: July-August 2007
GAVATU— As of July 24, 2007, Canadian dolphin broker Christopher Porter was reportedly holding as many as 50 recently captured dolphins in sea pens at Malaita in the Solomon Islands.
"Ocean Embassy, also known as the Wildlife International Network, is in the Solomon Islands trying to export the dolphins to Dubai," Dolphin Project founder Ric O’Barry told ANIMAL PEOPLE. Five new dolphin facilities in Dubai want dolphins, whales, polar bears—every marine mammal they can get. Ocean Embassy is the broker.
"Somehow Ocean Embassy has been able to stay out of the media regarding Dubai," O’Barry added. “They brokered the deal but Porter gets all of the attention. Ocean Embassy represents big money,” O’Barry continued. “They dwarf Porter’s operation. The parent corporation began selling securities via a private placement offering in the United States in late 2003. At present, the parent company is represented by 195 investors from the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and France.
"Capital raised through the private placement offering enabled the founders and management team to create Ocean Embassy Panama as the inaugural site for the company," O’Barry said. "Ocean Embassy Panama is located in the San Carlos District on the Pacific coast of Panama. The company began construction in San Carlos in August 2006."
The San Carlos area “could become the next Orlando,” former Sea World senior dolphin trainer Mark Simmons told Los Angeles Times staff writer Chris Kraul. Kraul identified Simmons as executive vice president of Wildlife International Network.
"As proposed, " wrote Kraul, "the $500-million resort and residential community would be built on a 700-acre site 50 miles west of Panama City. The centerpiece would be an interactive aquatic park where tourists would pay $100 or more to frolic for a few minutes with the friends of Flipper."
Noting that polls show 81% of Panamanians oppose dolphin captures, Kraul predicted that, “In the end, the fate of the Ocean Embassy theme park may hinge on politics. President Martin Torrijos has not taken a public stand, but is said to be concerned that the park might spur U.S. environmentalists to oppose a bilateral free trade agreement that goes before lawmakers in both countries later this year.”
O’Barry and others have been concerned that the Ocean Embassy development in Panama might become a base for exporting dolphins throughout the world, whether captured in Panamian waters or elsewhere. “The export of Panamanian dolphins and whales was in fact part of the free trade negotiations, conducted secretly while the Panamanian people were being assured that there will be no such exports,” charged Eric Jackson of the Panama News.
Contending that he is “working to provide a live alternative use” for dolphins who would otherwise be hunted for their teeth and meat, Porter on July 3, 2007 challenged Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin Project to debate—“Ideally at Fanalei in the Solomon Islands, a village that continues to practice dolphin hunting,” but perhaps instead at “a Starbucks in San Francisco.”
O’Barry accepted the invitation, but declined the Solomon Islands venue in light of a July 2, 2007 Reuters report about how “Followers of a warlord” in that region “tortured and beheaded at least three men 10 days ago and razed an entire village” of 500 people, ahead of the anticipated arrival of 2,000 international peacekeepers. O’Barry asked that the debate be held “in the offices of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Geneva, Switzerland,” with experts on zoonotic disease transmission between humans and dolphins present. In addition, O’Barry asked Porter to “include your fellow dolphin dealers in the debate. Their names are Dr. Ted N. Turner, Robin Friday, Mark Simmons and Dr. Ted Hammond.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE took the opportunity to ask Porter, “How many dolphins per year are killed for teeth and meat by the residents of the Solomon Islands? How many are killed by the people you are working with? How does this compare to the mortality rate in capture and transportation? Can you cite any examples, from anywhere in the world, where promoting a dolphin capture industry has led to a net reduction in the numbers of dolphins killed for other purposes?”
Porter replied four times within the next seven hours, without actually answering any of the questions—but Solomon Islands political office holder Lawrence Makili pointed out that, “There are only two places in Malaita,” the island where Porter has his dolphin capture operation, “that hunt dolphins for teeth: Lau, at the northern end of the island, and Fanalei at the southern end of the Island. The Fanalei people were originally from Lau,” Makili explained. Other Malaita residents “don’t hunt dolphins.” And even the dolphin hunters hunt dolphins “primarily to get teeth for the bride price, not for food,” Makili said.
Both ANIMAL PEOPLE and O’Barry also asked Porter to account for the dolphins he captured in his first major export venture in the Solomons. Wrote O’Barry, “It is my understanding that you originally captured about 170 dolphins back in 2003. Of those, 28 were transported to Cancun, Mexico. As you know, several of them died at Park Nizuk. In 2004, 15 of the survivors were transferred to Cozumel. If these figures are correct, this means that about 142 dolphins stayed with you in Fanalei. In 2004, you stated that you only had 44 dolphins left. In 2005 you had 26, and in 2006 you had 20. Then there were none. This was in June 2007, shortly before you started capturing dolphins for Dubai.”
Porter did not account for any of the 122 dolphins whose fate is unknown.
Pro-caps likes to say that Blackfish disrespects the legacy of Dawn Brancheau. They fail to realize that it was SeaWorld that threw Dawn under the bus where it really mattered, in Federal Court.
Check out this “expert testimony” by Jeff Andrews. It makes some incredible claims.
1. Tilikum was not acting aggressively (really?)
2. They had “no knowledge” that Tilikum could “act in the manner he did” (even though it said he lunges at “control trainer” in his profile that they wrote)
3. They clearly blame Dawn for her own death in this report
Jeff Andrews was promoted to VP for the corporation after this.