A former SeaWorld trainer defends the whales they hold captive.
On Tuesday, ClickOrlando.com shared a report on John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld whale trainer who is releasing a book, Beneath the Surface, about his three years spent at the company.
SeaWorld has long faced criticism and speculation for treatment of their killer-whales, but now someone from the inside is speaking out.
Hargrove calls himself one of the most experienced killer-whale trainers on the planet, and even though Blackfish did a great job at raising questions about marine mammal captivity, he feels he has a duty to reveal what it's really like.
In his new book, he urgers readers and visitors to seek elsewhere for learning about marine life.
"SeaWorld refuses to change its business model," Hargrove said. "They want to say, 'No, no, these animals are healthy and they're thriving.' I can personally tell you from being there for 14 years, they are not healthy and they are not thriving."
For Hargrove, it's personal because a trip to SeaWorld is what inspired his lifelong career as a lop-level killer-whale traineer.
"For most of us, this was our dream job," Hargrove writes in his book. "We were never going to rock the boat. Not about pay. Not about the danger. We loved the whales we worked with. There was also fear: Many of us chose not to speak out about the conditions at SeaWorld because management might assign us away from the whales."
After trying to make changes, he felt the need to leave.
"Look, I tried my best from the inside to change this and I could not do it," Hargrove told the publication. "I could not pull it off. The only true way to change this that's left is to leave and speak out and tell people my story."
But when it comes to wellfare of these creatures, it's not about whether the company loves them.
"I know they love those whales, but I also know they have to protect the company," Hargrove said. "That's why we're on bitter opposite ends at the moment."
In his book, he makes is as simple and clear as possible by saying he would hate to live their life.
"I finally came to the realization that if I had to live their lives, it would be hell," Hargrove writes in his book. "Captivity is always captivity, no matter how gentle the jailer."