Tag Archives: Shamu

SeaWorld is a Contender for “Worst Company in America” in a Contest Run by a Consumer Reports Subsidiary

  • The Consumerist runs an annual contest for the public to choose the company that they feel is the worst in the country.
  • Corporations are paired off, and each day a few of these pairs are available for voting.
  • The initial list is based on consumer input.
  • This year SeaWorld is included in the match-up, presumably due to the surge of awareness brought by the film Blackfish.

Injury and deaths of both humans and animals at SeaWorld make this company a contender for "Worst Company in America". (Photo courtesy of seaworldofhurt.com).
Injury and deaths of both humans and animals at SeaWorld make this company a contender for “Worst Company in America”. (Photo courtesy of seaworldofhurt.com).

When an organization such as Consumer Reports runs a contest, you can fully trust the honesty and reliability of the results – so the fact that SeaWorld even appears on this contest is significant, regardless of the outcome.  This contest becomes a permanent record, so win or lose, all the nominees for each year are retained in the records.

The Consumerist’s parent company, Consumer Media LLC, is a subsidiary of Consumer Reports, the nation’s leading not-for-profit consumer advocacy organization. Since its founding in 1936, Consumer Reports has fought for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.

The results of today’s (3/19/14) voting: Chase, Comcast, and Abercrombie & Fitch will move on to the next round.  SeaWorld is paired against the pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson, which has had major issues with quality control in recent years.
You can participate, and vote for all the corporations you truly think need significant improvement.  Just check back to the website daily, and early in the day since it appears as though the contest is open according to Eastern Standard Time work hours.  When the poll is open, a check-box will show up on your screen and you will be able to vote on just one pair at a time.


SeaWorld Protesters Bullied by Corporate Activists

This video makes you wonder who SeaWorld’s die-hard fans are, really.
On February 17th, 2014, corporate activists supporting SeaWorld showed up and held their own little rally across the street from where families were peacefully demonstrating against SeaWorld’s policy of keeping large animals in small tanks.
Who spends their weekends demonstrating against demonstrators who don’t like the business where you work or play?
According to one commenter on the video’s YouTube page, the large vociferous fellow with the sunglasses has been seen at San Diego and Orlando protests. When the video was first posted I checked the link and the claim that he was in the photo is true, but the original photo has since been taken down.

He is definitely on SW’s payroll. You can see his picture on Protest the Protester’s event page. The picture is taken in Orlando. The guy with black shirt on the left. He has been antagonizing SD protesters in their last two protests. So SW must be sending him down to SD just to start a fight.

The captivity industry seems to have spawned an angry fan base of what are becoming known as ‘corporate activists’, who dedicate themselves to ‘protesting the protesters’.  These new activists are demonstrating (although it looks more like trying to intimidate others ) their own right to assemble… while trying to deny the same right to those who believe SeaWorld should end its policy of keeping whales in tanks for our amusement.

Activist in black (right) supports SeaWorld.
Activist in black (right) supports SeaWorld. (From video).

What If SeaWorld Held Auditions and No One Came? The ‘Blackfish Effect’ Continues

SeaWorld is having auditions for these and other "educational" characters, but no one seems interested.
SeaWorld is having auditions for these and other “educational” characters, but no one seems interested.

It is not just musicians who are turning their backs on SeaWorld these days. (Trace Adkins, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Heart, Barenaked Ladies, Martina McBride, 38 Special, the Beach Boys, and Pat Benedar have all cancelled planned performances there and Joan Jett has lodged a complaint that her music is played at their Shamu shows.) As is the case with musicians, SeaWorld seems to be having trouble finding actors willing to don cartoonish costumes and promote the circus-like aspects of the amusement park as well.
They have repeatedly posted on the message board for an actor’s site, Broadway World and seem to be met with derision each time. Most of the actors are firmly against the idea of being involved with SeaWorld, having seen the film Blackfish. As a group they are very well informed, and did their own research before reaching their conclusions.

Auditions for Performers – SeaWorld
Posted: 2/17/14 at 10:48am
Auditions for 2014 SeaWorld Performers will be held:
Friday February 21, 2014
At SeaWorld Human Resources Training Center 2
10500 Sea World Dr., San Antonio, TX 78251

Visit seaworld auditions for more information.

Seeking: Musicians including Guitar Playing Singers, Steel Drum Band Players, Mimes, Dancers, Costumed Characters, Actors, Scare Squad Actors, Variety Artists. All talents welcome.

Below are some of the replies to the ad posted on the Broadway World message board, and if these are anything to go by, SeaWorld is going to have to stretch to find employees in many other capacities as well:

Posted: 1/6/14 at 10:17am

“Exactly. I have a hard time wrapping my head around anyone who would want to say they work or perform at Sea World now. Sea World has such a negative connotation in the public’s eye.”


Posted: 1/6/14 at 11:43am
“Bigger question: Why is a major casting office trolling BWW for performers?
Can’t Paul rustle up some “showcase cockroaches” for his Sea World needs?”

Posted: 2/8/14 at 03:14pm

SeaWorld is over, dude.
Willie Nelson & Heart

shamu5 sw talent search

Posted: 2/17/14 at 11:35am
“Oh, give it up”.
Posted: 2/17/14 at 11:50am
“Did somebody say Blackfish?”
Posted: 2/17/14 at 12:25pm
“Paul–or Paul’s intern–get your pimping [a**] outta here.”
Posted: 2/17/14 at 01:51pm
“Just going to copy&paste more or less what I said the last time (and the time before that) this guy advertised Seaworld.”

“Of the 158 captive killer whales that have died, more than 2/3 didn’t make it passed 10 years in captivity. Less than 30 orcas survived more than 20 years in captivity. Average time in captivity has improved steadily over the decades, but is still very low.” The average lifespan of a wild orca ranges from 30 to 90 years old.
Then again when you’re feeding questionable quality frozen fish to animals who normally hunt live fish or (in the case of transients) do not eat fish, then have to stuff them with vitamins and gelatin to attempt to give them nutrition and hydration, on top of keeping them in incredibly small, bare tanks that keep them constantly exposed to blazing sun (not to mention at least two whales who have died from West Nile Virus, thanks to Florida mosquitos), all without the normal physical activity and socialization they would achieve in the wild except when they are forced to perform amidst blaring music and noises (just to name a few things)… yeah, I would imagine their life expectancy in captivity is drastically reduced.
Seaworld slaps a fake smile on an industry that is abusive to humans and animals. At least 3 trainer deaths, at least one trainer permanently paralyzed, and countless injuries to trainers, volunteers and other people they allow to interact with the whales. 158 dead whales, almost all well below their normal life expectancy, and all forced into a life that is not even a fraction of what they deserve and would lead in the wild.

“Seaworld is deplorable.”
Posted: 2/17/14 at 03:20pm
“I’d rather audition for regional production of Cats. Seriously.”

And what does SeaWorld teach about whales and dolphins?
And what does SeaWorld teach about whales and dolphins?

Posted: 2/17/14 at 03:44pm
“Hey Paul! How about you live in a bathtub for the rest of your life? Yeah, I’m sure you’d be pretty pissed off too. F Seaworld.”
Posted: 2/17/14 at 04:29pm
“Kidnapping and horrible living conditions of whales aside, who doesn’t want to work at a place that just got investigated by OSHA?”

New ‘Baby Blackfish’ Born at SeaWorld – Aka ‘Baby Shamu’

12/6/13. SeaWorld San Antonio announced the birth of a new baby orca with little fanfare today, (‘Baby Shamu’ killer whale born at SeaWorld San Antonio).
SeaWorld continues with its policy of naming all orcas individually but giving them all the stage name Shamu,  a made up name created by mashing the words ‘she’ and ‘Namu’ together.  Namu was the name of the second killer whale ever taken into captivity, he was a Northern Resident orca adventitiously found inside a salmon net in British Columbia waters near the community for which he was named.  A female was caught from the Southern Resident orca clan to keep him company, and she was called she-Namu, or Shamu.
While the Northern and Southern clans get along peaceably enough they aren’t known to intermingle in the wild.
Blackfish is the colloquial name given to orcas by the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, a people who understood and respected the nature of killer whales. It is also the name chosen for a documentary that exposes incidents of aggression by whales in captivity, and the original Shamu was one of those whales.
She was removed from shows after she bit and dragged a secretary who was riding her for a publicity stunt in 1971.

In a lawsuit following this incident, it was revealed that SeaWorld was well aware of the danger they put the secretary in, and did not fully disclose the danger to her.

In April 1971 Gail MacLaughlin, Sea World’s public relations director, and Kent Burgess [the director of Sea World’s animal training department] asked plaintiff if she would like to ride Shamu, the killer whale, in a bikini for some publicity pictures for Sea World. Although the ride was not made a condition of her keeping her job, plaintiff eagerly agreed, thinking it would be exciting.
Although warned in general terms that the ride involved dangers and aware that she might fall off, plaintiff was confident of her swimming ability and anxious to do it. She had never heard of whales pushing riders around.
Burgess had been responsible for training Shamu ever since Sea World first acquired the animal. He knew Shamu was conditioned to being ridden only by persons wearing wetsuits, and that Shamu had in the past attacked persons who attempted to ride her in an ordinary bathing suit: first a Catalina swimsuit model and then Jim Richards, one of the trainers at Sea World. In addition, Burgess had read training records which showed Shamu had been behaving erratically since early March 1971. This information he did not disclose to plaintiff.
Plaintiff was trained for the ride by Sea World trainers in the tank at Sea World during normal office working hours. First she practiced riding Kilroy, a smaller, more docile whale, while wearing a bathing suit. During her one practice session on Shamu, she wore a wetsuit, fell off, but swam to the edge of the tank without incident.
On April 19 plaintiff became apprehensive for the first time when one of Sea World’s trainers said he was not going to watch her ride Shamu because it was “really dangerous.” Plaintiff then went to Burgess and told him of her concern. He told her not to worry, said there was nothing to be concerned about, and that the ride was “as safe as it could be.”
He still did not tell her about the problems they had been having with Shamu or about the earlier incidents involving Richards and the swimsuit model. Thus reassured, plaintiff, wearing a bikini Sea World had paid for, then took three rides on Shamu. During the second ride one of the trainers noticed Shamu’s tail was fluttering, a sign the animal was upset. During the third ride plaintiff fell off when Shamu refused to obey a signal. Shamu then bit her on her legs and hips and held her in the tank until she could be rescued.
Plaintiff suffered 18 to 20 wounds which required from 100 to 200 stitches and left permanent scars. She was hospitalized five days and out of work several weeks. She also suffered some psychological disturbance.


Takara with previous calf in 2005. Courtesy Busch Gardens Entertainment.
Takara with previous calf in 2005. Courtesy Busch Gardens Entertainment.

The new baby Blackfish was born to an experienced mom, Takara:

Takara, a 22-year-old killer whale, gave birth to a calf Friday at 12:08 a.m. The yet-to-be-named calf is the 29th killer whale born in SeaWorld’s history, and it joins five other killer whales that reside at the San Antonio park.
Takara gave birth to a female calf – estimated to measure 7 feet long – in Shamu Theater’s main pool after being in labor for slightly more than one hour. Immediately after birth, the baby whale instinctively swam to the surface of the water for its first breath of air. SeaWorld veterinarians and animal care specialists, who have devoted the last several weeks to 24-hour watch of the expectant mother, were on hand to witness the birth.

SeaWorld comments:

“We’re delighted to welcome the newest Baby Shamu to our killer whale family,” said Chris Bellows, SeaWorld San Antonio vice president of zoological operations. “Successful births like this are further evidence that SeaWorld parks have created healthy, enriching habitats for these animals. Millions of guests visit our parks each year and gain a greater appreciation for killer whales and other species in our care.
No other organization on the planet connects people with wildlife better than SeaWorld.”

There is no logic in their statement that the births are related to ‘enriching’ habitats, SeaWorld is good at using artificial insemination to get whales pregnant, they just are no good at keeping them alive, happy, and healthy. And the way their orcas connect with people is unnatural…and dangerous.

Ksakmenk, an Argentinian whale, is thought to be the father of the new baby Blackfish at SeaWorld, Antonio, Texas. (Cetacean Cousins Photo)
Ksakmenk, an Argentinian whale, is thought to be the father of the new baby Blackfish at SeaWorld, Antonio, Texas. (Cetacean Cousins Photo)

It is rumored that the father is Kshamenk, a male thought to be a transient type (mammal eating) owned by the State of Argentina and living in a tiny pool in the aquarium Mundo Marino.

“Death at SeaWorld” – Exposing the Dark Side of Captivity

This press release could not have come at a better time, as SeaWorld continues to battle the U.S. Government on the wisdom of forcing trainers into life endangering routines, fights with Marineland over where an orca should live, faces a lawsuit from PETA on 13th amendment rights (slavery), copes with leaks about their links to the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, and is shown to have huge influence over government decisions about rescued animals. People need cogent, compellingly written explanations of what really goes on at SeaWorld – and this book will deliver.

Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity
DAVID KIRBY – April 2012
From The New York Times bestselling author of Evidence of Harm and Animal Factory—a groundbreaking scientific thriller that exposes the dark side of SeaWorld, America’s most beloved marine mammal theme park.
Death at SeaWorld centers on the public battle with the multimillion-dollar marine park industry over the controversial and even lethal ramifications of keeping killer whales in captivity. Following the story of marine biologist and U.S. Humane Society advocate Naomi Rose, Kirby tells the gripping story of the two-decade fight against PR-savvy SeaWorld, which came to a head with the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.  Kirby puts that horrific animal-on-human attack in context.  Brancheau’s death was the most publicized among several brutal attacks that have occurred at SeaWorld and other marine mammal theme parks.
Death at SeaWorld introduces real people taking part in this debate, from former trainers turned animal rights activists to the men and women that champion SeaWorld and the captivity of whales. In section two the orcas act out. And as the story progresses and orca attacks on trainers become increasingly violent, the warnings of Naomi Rose and other scientists fall on deaf ears, only to be realized with the death of Dawn Brancheau. Finally he covers the media backlash, the eye-witnesses who come forward to challenge SeaWorld’s glossy image, and the groundbreaking OSHA case that challenges the very idea of keeping killer whales in captivity and may spell the end of having trainers in the water with the ocean’s top predators.
Death at SeaWorld exposes the backroom politics, profit-centered policies and dangerous conditions at SeaWorld, America’s most beloved marine mammal park.
DAVID KIRBY is the author of Evidence of Harm, which was a New York Times bestseller, winner of the 2005 Investigative Reporters and Editors award for best book, and a finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, and Animal Factory, a highly acclaimed investigation into the environmental impact of factory farms. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Pre-order your copy now DEATH AT SEAWORLD.