Abuse of Orcas At Seaworld

Article: Former Sea World Trainer Reveals Mistreatment of Killer Whales:  http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/03/23/former-seaworld-trainer-john-hargrove-alleges-abuse-killer-whales

TakePart, David Kirby, March 23, 2015

Issue Overview:

In recent media the issues at Sea World have become serious controversies. After the multiple deaths/attacks (Dawn Brancheau death in 2010) that have happened to Sea World trainers by the Orcas, people have researched more into the treatment of the animals at Sea World because that has a lot to do with their behavior. They realized that it is no wonder these animals can get aggressive when they are living in such awful conditions. Living in such contained areas when they should be living in the ocean. As well as being abused, drugged etc. it makes sense that they can from time to time act out. Sustainable Development goal #14 talks about conserving life under water, but by allowing Sea World to still be open and contain these animals, it is completely contradicting that. I understand why it may not really seem that way because Sea World is not necessarily “killing” the Orcas, but the Orcas that live at sea world have an immensely shorter lifespan than the ones in the wild. As well, many of the Orcas that are hunted from the ocean for Sea World often die while being hunted.

Key Stakeholders:

One key stakeholder is Sea World because after information about the treatment of the animals was released, many people began protesting against Sea World. This caused the corporation to lose a lot of business and attraction. Another key stakeholder is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) because they are the ones who over the years have continuously given more rules to sea world and more regulations. For example, after a trainer was killed by an Orca in 2010, OSHA passed a bill to end the Orca shows and require trainers to be behind barricades when near the Orcas. It’s taken close to 4 years but the Orca shows are now coming to an end. Another key stakeholder is the protest groups that fight to close Sea World, like PETA for example. They are making a difference and really opening up this issue to the public and making a difference for the animals.

Contributing Factors:

One social issue that fuels this issue is the fact that people and families are still going and supporting Sea World. Supporting Sea World only makes what they are doing seem ok. Especially young kids going there learn to believe that it is a happy place and won’t understand the cruelty that the animals are shown and deal with. One political factor that fuels this issue is despite the fact that the OSHA is creating new regulations to look out for the trainers, there isn’t any rules being made really to protect the animals. The only real way to keep the Orcas as well as the trainers safe is to close Sea World all together.


One environmental impact of this issue is that our marine ecosystem will be interfered with if we continue taking Orcas from the wild. The Orcas that are usually taken are the young and healthy ones, leaving the older ones to die off. This could also possibly lead to their extinction in the future. Currently there are many pods of Orcas facing becoming endangered, the 3 main pods facing being endangered being J, K, and L pods, which are off the coast of B.C. and Washington State. These waters, coincidently, happen to be where Sea World hunts it’s Orcas.


The main bias in this article is the fact that it is written about a former Sea World trainer who wrote a book explaining all the horrifying things at Sea World. This is a bias because the former trainer only discusses really the terrible treatment of the animals and helps people understand and uncover the awful things about Sea World. Although this is doubtful, the author also could be selling this story to make money because now a days any dirt on Sea World is comparable to gold. Either way Sea World is not some kid friendly happy place, but more like a jail for innocent marine animals.




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