Banning Books in the 21st Century: Is “Death At SeaWorld” Too Revealing?

For some reason there continues to be an effort to ban author David Kirby’s new book, Death At SeaWorld.

The forthcoming book is reputed to examine both the risk to humans and the viability of keeping whales in captivity. By all accounts the book is well researched and documented, and although it focuses on the deaths of trainers it does so in order to point out the danger of confining large animals in relatively small space.
Now some individuals have decided that Kirby is profiting from the death of one of the people killed by the orca Tilikum, Dawn Brancheau (although Tilikum was involved in the death of three people) and therefore his book should be banned. By that logic, no one should be able to write about John Kennedy – yet new books continue to be written about his assassination decades later.
This video was recently posted, and is followed by the comment: “Let’s have a book burning with all the copies?”

I wonder if kids are still expected to read Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s novel that examines the consequences of too much TV and censorship. In the novel, firemen burn every book (451 degrees Fahrenheit is given as the temperature that paper burns), because reading makes people think for themselves…

Voice of the Orcas, a website developed by former SeaWorld trainers is a rich source of information, with a user-friendly  page  containing interviews by experts.  They readily share their resources, and there you will learn  why Kirby’s book is essential in unmasking the dangers of keeping orcas in captivity, which is apparently something some folks just don’t want you to know.

Death At SeaWorld can be bought here.

Four people are known to have been killed, many more have sustained injuries. (From Voice of the Orcas)

Navy Versus Whales and Dolphins (Caution – Snooze Alert) (At Least Until the Explosives Detonate)

Could the Navy be more obtuse and boring?  Probably.  Could this issue be more important?  Maybe.  But for anyone desiring to know what the Navy does to the marine environment, now is your chance.

What you will learn might seem to depend upon both your stamina and your ability to translate acronyms into language, but don’t be fooled – under the surface, these issues are very basic.
As to your stamina – the original document “Northwest Training Range Complex Environmental lmpact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement” is a mind-crushing 727 pages long.
And as far as acronyms go, doesn’t this sound like fun – “The NWTT EIS/OEIS is environmental planning analysis for testing and training activities to support re-issuance of authorization for permitted activities analyzed by the Navy in previous environmental documents.”  And only 726 more pages to go.
But if you care about things like ‘Dumping Ground Explosives Military’ –  such as what shows up in the recent satellite track of an endangered Southern Resident orca (below) – now is the time to voice your opinion.

Notice the fine print in this map.

It is time to hold the Navy’s collective hands to the fire and make them disclose how their activities impact the marine environment.  And by the way, the “open house sessions” are held in low population areas, not exactly easy for many of those who care about these issues (check bottom of page).
Could it be more inconvenient?  There is nothing about this to make you want to go…but there is an online option ( Please do your best to have an impact.

SILVERDALE, Wash. – The U.S. Navy is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts from military readiness training and testing activities conducted primarily within existing range complexes and testing ranges in the Northwest Training and Testing (NWTT) Study Area.
The Navy is initiating the scoping process to identify community concerns and issues for analysis in the EIS/OEIS. The Navy is seeking public involvement and input, which are fundamental parts of the EIS/OEIS development under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As part of the public participation process, the Navy will hold open house information sessions to obtain public input on the scope, environmental resources or issues to address in the EIS/OEIS.
The NWTT EIS/OEIS is environmental planning analysis for testing and training activities to support re-issuance of authorization for permitted activities analyzed by the Navy in previous environmental documents.
The Navy proposes to adjust training and testing activities to support current and planned requirements and accommodate evolving mission requirements associated with force structure changes, including those resulting from the development, testing, introduction of new vessels, aircraft and weapon system(s).
The Proposed Action would ensure the Navy accomplishes its mission to maintain, train and equip combat-ready military forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.
The public is invited to attend open house information sessions to learn about the Proposed Action and to provide comments on factors to be considered in the EIS/OEIS. The public may arrive at any time during each open house information session. There will not be a presentation or formal oral comment session. Navy representatives will be available to discuss the project and the Proposed Action.
All written comments must be postmarked or received during the comment period to be considered in the Draft EIS. Written comments must be postmarked by April 27, 2012, and mailed to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest
ATTN: Mrs. Kimberly Kler – NWTT Project Manager
1101 Tautog Circle
Silverdale, WA 98315-1100
Comments may also be submitted online at or submitted in person at the open house information sessions.


Nine open house information sessions will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the following locations:
Washington:     Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Oak Harbor School District
Administrative Services Center Board Room
350 S. Oak Harbor St.
Oak Harbor
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Quilcene School District
Multipurpose Room
294715 U.S. Highway 101
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Central Kitsap High School Cafeteria
3700 NW Anderson Hill Road
Friday, March 16, 2012
Grays Harbor College HUB
1620 Edward P. Smith Drive
Oregon: Monday, March 19, 2012
Tillamook County Fairgrounds Auditorium
4603 E. 3rd St.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Hatfield Marine Science Center
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
California:     Thursday, March 22, 2012
Eureka Public Marina, Wharfinger Building
#1 Marina Way
Friday, March 23, 2012
Fort Bragg Town Hall
363 N. Main St.
Fort Bragg
Alaska: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Ted Ferry Civic Center
888 Venetia Ave.
Visit the project website at to learn more about the project.

Tracking Device on Orca Whale “Mike” Useless, Fails After Three Days

On February 20th, researchers from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) shot a tracking device into the dorsal fin of the young male orca “Mike” (J-26). Mike likely flinched and dove when the razor barbs opened in the flesh of his fin, but with no other option seemed to go about life as usual with his mom and two younger sisters – at least for the three days that the device continued to function. (Southern Resident Killer Whale Satellite Tagging)

Dart tracking device embeds in the dorsal fin.

These devices are euphemistically called ‘tags’ because they are the modern genesis of the familiar ear tags used on livestock, but are really sophisticated data gathering GPS units. Designed to remain in place for 1 – 3 months, the idea is that the tracking device will provide information on the endangered Southern Resident orca’s winter distribution.
The justification for the invasive ‘tagging’ program is that scientists can’t define critical habitat for the whales until they know where the orcas go when they are not in the Salish Sea. Somehow the researchers seem to think that harassing the fragile population of orcas and throwing large amounts of money and time at this question will yield information that will help save the Resident orcas – but the scientists already know what the problem is:  the orcas’ primary food prey, Chinook salmon, have become an unreliable food source.  Some years the orcas seem to find enough to eat, but other years the cyclic nature of salmon populations leaves the orcas hungry. (See The Center Conservation Biology).  The biologists at NOAA have known this for years.
No one knows where Mike and his family are at the moment – which they wouldn’t have known anyway.  Except Mike is now swimming with a useless device impaled in his fin, or has lost the device and now has twin wounds penetrating his tissue.
Where “Mike” (J-26) went over the three days that the device functioned.

It is understandable that the scientists want to define the winter range of the Southern Resident orcas, it is a question that has perplexed researchers for decades, and the researchers are every bit as concerned about the welfare of the orcas as is any activist. But there is a fine line between necessary science, satisfying curiosity, and meeting some ridiculous rule about defining habitat before proceeding to do what needs to be done to protect the whales.  Even in the confines of the Salish Sea, around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands the government is unable to enforce the regulations already in place, and it is absurd to think they will be able to do so out on the open ocean.
No, the problem is that no one wants to do the only thing that will truly help the orcas because the fix is both highly contentious and expensive; restore Chinook salmon populations.
Studying the problem to death or falling into the trap of ‘being the one’ to discover something are tactics that allow NOAA to keep its head in the sand while both the salmon and the orcas disappear, and certainly the scientists find this as upsetting as anyone else. The government needs to find the money to fix the salmon problem, or citizens need to take it upon ourselves to restore salmon habitat and choose something else on our dinner plates besides the shrinking (in size as well as in number) Chinook salmon. And let the orcas swim in peace.
“Mike” (J-26) usually swims with his mom and two younger sisters. (Photo by Dave Ellifrit)

Japanese “Research” Whalers vs Sea Shepherd – Sunday ‘What Are They Thinking?’ Category

If the tables were turned…

It is baffling, really, that the Japanese whalers think they might find success in American courts to protect  Japanese illegal whale slaughter (see earlier article) – Americans are against both the slaughter of whales and the protection of criminals on the high seas. (The text below is taken from court transcripts).
THE COURT (The judge): “Let me ask you a few questions,
counsel. I have identified that balancing hardships as an
issue for this court. If the purpose of the Institute of
Cetacean Research is truly research, why have I not seen
any documented evidence of how defendants’ activities are
interfering or disrupting your ability to conduct

(Courtesy Inventor Spot)

Plaintiff (Japanese whalers’ attorney): “So I don’t think this scientific research is — In our view it is a red herring. They would like to turn
this case into a case about the validity of the permit,
about the validity and value of scientific research on
whales. But the court should not wade into that quagmire
in a situation in which the court is being asked to do one
thing, and one thing only, and that is to protect property
and life.

(The judge’s final ruling on this case is complicated by jurisdictional matters and may take a while to sort out, but there is nothing to indicate that the decision to not put an injunction on Sea Shepherd will change).


The Environmental Investigation Agency, who spearheaded the campaign to block the sale of whale and dolphin meat on Amazon, is thorough and relentless in daylighting what goes on in the global environment, and have shown us all the power contained in the engagement of the world community to right a wrong. They are greatly appreciated by people around the world for helping to preserve the environment for all of us.
We can all go back to ordering from our well loved Amazon; whatever glitch had them doing the wrong thing, they corrected it immediately, a lesson we can all use.
Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
Tel: +44 207 354 7960
Fax: +44 207 354 7961

LONDON, UK / WASHINGTON, DC: Internet giant appears to have removed all whale products from its wholly owned Japanese website overnight, following worldwide publicity that scores of whale products were offered for sale.
A new campaign launched yesterday by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Humane Society International (HSI) revealed that Amazon Japan not only sells products from endangered and protected whale species, but also products containing dangerous levels of mercury.
Worldwide publicity followed the release of the EIA report’s Unpalatable Profits and tens of thousands of people have taken action via Twitter, Facebook, HSI’s online petition, and sending protest emails to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry said: “We welcome Amazon’s action to remove whale products from its Japanese website but urge Amazon to confirm it will enact a company-wide ban on the sale of all products derived from whales, dolphins or porpoises.”
Mark Jones, veterinarian and Executive Director of Humane Society International UK, said: “In just 24 hours, more than 35,000 HSI supporters have appealed to Amazon for a total ban on the sale of whale, dolphin and porpoise products. The public wants these animals protected rather than killed and sold for profit.” is Selling Whale and Dolphin Meat, EIA Calls for Embargo

Update:  at about 7 pm PST 2/21/12 I checked my email and found the following:

I apologize for all the inconvenience you experienced in this case.
I have forwarded your feedback to our concern department.
The items you referenced are not available for sale. Thank you for contacting us.
Thank you for your inquiry. Did I solve your problem?
If yes, please click here:

If no, please click here:

This was in response to an email I had sent to Amazon, requesting both the removal of those goods for sale and an official policy change.  I clicked “no” because I’m waiting for the policy statement from management…but it seems as though Amazon has reacted quickly and stopped the sales, kudos to them if so.

Seattle based Amazon allows its subsidiary in Japan to traffic in whale and dolphin products – whether Amazon is just clueless or whether they are indifferent to cetacean slaughter, this company that sees itself as environmentally conscientious seems to have boxed its morals and shipped them overseas.

With a market value of almost 83 billion dollars and shares trading at $182.50 their outlook is considered ‘bullish’ – but stockholders and consumers alike may soon change their minds on this company.  Most of the world is fed up with seeing images of the bloodbath involved with cetacean slaughter, we are sick of seeing red, and disgusted with waiting for our paralyzed governments to do something.
But we can ‘vote’ with our pocketbooks and take our business elsewhere – maybe the sight of red ink on their ledgers will persuade Amazon to take action. Let it be their turn to see red.

To see for yourself, please do the following: first try clicking on Amazon Japan whale meat.  If that link doesn’t work, go to (this link is for the English version) then carefully copy and paste this: クジラ  into the search bar (it is kanji for ‘whale’, typing in the English word didn’t seem to work.)

STRICT EMBARGO OF AMAZON Called by The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the International Humane Society.
10.00 (GMT) on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2012
From The International Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA):
Internet giant urged to clean house and ban all cetacean products
LONDON: Internet marketplace giant is today called on to stop supporting commercial whaling by immediately and permanently banning the sale of all products from whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as ’cetaceans’).’s Unpalatable Profits, a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), launched in co-operation with Humane Society International, reveals that Amazon Japan, the wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon Inc, sells hundreds of cetacean food products.

“Minke whales to be eaten raw”, for sale on Amazon Japan

In December 2011, 147 whale products were found for sale on Amazon Japan. The listed products included fin, sei, minke and Bryde’s whales, all protected by the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which forbids international trade. Despite this, several companies were selling endangered fin whale imported from Iceland.
Amazon Japan was also selling pilot whale and other whale or dolphin species from the infamous Taiji drive hunts, highlighted in the Oscar-winning film The Cove.
EIA has released a hard-hitting 50-second campaign film – – urging consumers to tell Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to stop selling whales.
“Amazon is selling threatened and endangered cetacean species that are protected by two international treaties,” said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry. “By allowing vendors to sell whale products on its sites, it is effectively helping to prop up an unsustainable trade that should have been consigned to the history books long ago.”
EIA investigators purchased eight whale products from Amazon Japan in 2011, including canned whale meat, whale jerky, whale bacon and whale stew. Analysis revealed six of them to have mercury levels exceeding the Japanese national limit for mercury in seafood of 0.4 parts per million (ppm) and one had a staggering mercury level of 20ppm, about 50 times the safe limit.
“Amazon says ‘we’re constantly looking for ways to further reduce our environmental impact’ – banning these harmful products is an easy way for Amazon to show genuine commitment to this principle, while protecting its customers,” added Perry.
One-third of the 147 products were not listed with a species name, contrary to the requirements of Japan’s labelling laws. Since many of these products originate from Taiji, where 10 times more dolphins are killed than whales, it is likely Amazon Japan is selling dolphin products mislabelled as ‘whale’.
Mark Jones, veterinarian and Executive Director of Humane Society International UK, said: “There is no humane way to kill whales, so the creatures slaughtered to produce the food products being sold by Amazon will have endured a bloody and painful death. Killing these remarkable giants of the sea for commercial gain is condemned by the majority of the world’s nations. As a global brand, Amazon must now act to protect both consumers from environmentally polluted products and cetaceans from the cruel exploitation of commercial whaling.”
Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY

Tel: +44 207 354 7960
Fax: +44 207 354 7961

SeaWorld is Hiring! Jobs Are Available at Three of Their Parks

According to Central Florida News 13 SeaWorld is hiring seasonal employees at SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, and Discovery Park.
A quick check with a calculator shows that at $8 per hour, your take home pay would be $268 per week (after deductions), $1072 per month, $12,864 per year.

Jim Atchison, President and Ceo of SeaWorld. Even the orcas think the hourly wages for employees are laughable.

So if you work at one of these jobs, it will take you  a bit less than two weeks to earn the $462 cost for a family of four with older children to visit SeaWorld Orlando.
But what the heck, it is a job, and jobs are scarce…
Open positions include lifeguards, game attendants, cooks, photographers and park operation hosts.
The pay range is $8.04 – $9.50 per hour, SeaWorld said.
Before you attend the hiring event: You are required to fill out an application online at
And by the way, if you are wondering how much the bosses make at SeaWorld, well, they’re not telling.  But let’s put it this way, they aren’t paid hourly, nor are they really salaried.
They are “compensated”.  They get a base pay of $100,000 or so and up possibly into the millions depending on park profits.
The less they pay you, the higher the profits, the higher the ‘compensation’The smaller the tanks, the cheaper the fish for the orcas, the higher the ‘compensation’.
Not to mention, the greater the dangerous stunts with trainers, the more the box office makes…but  how do they’compensate’ the families of killed and injured trainers?
They don’t.  They ‘compensate’ the CEOs.
A SeaWorld lifeguard – who might actually save a life – makes $9.50 per hour at most according to the announcement.  Go figure.

Live Turtles, Fish, Salamanders Sealed In Plastic Bags to Make Living Key Chains in China

Need more incentive to boycott Chinese imports?

This fad is completely legal in China – if you find it upsetting, you can sign petitions…but nothing is more effective than an economic boycott.  Please do your best to give up the need for cheap goods, in the end we will all pay for China’s ruthless perspective on life.

Daytona Race Succeeds in Bringing Awareness of the Plight of Japan’s Dolphins

There is only winning when you are racing to help the planet.

The blue marble, when held at arm’s length, represents how the earth looks from up in space – a fragile blue orb dependent upon the oceans to sustain life.
Yesterday at Daytona, Leilani Munter raced to help bring awareness about the oceans in general, and specifically the treatment of dolphins in Japan.
Even though the Cove’s car was plagued with mechanical problems, Leilani Munter got her message out at heart-stopping speed at yesterday’s  race. As her bright blue race car sped around the track at 180 – 200 miles per hour, viewers had time to reflect on this young woman’s vision, her sheer guts and determination, and finally, her plucky endurance.
She accomplished what she set out to do – to increase awareness of the brutality that goes on behind the scenes  and how it is linked to the captive industry (see Save Japan Dolphins for more information).
Bravo, Leilani!
(Copies of the tweets provided by her group during the race are below).
Leilani autographing copies of “The Cove” along with the film’s creators Ric O’Barry and Louie Psihoyos


We believe we may have an electrical problem, we went through four ignition boxes this week. In the race I was (cont)

Me too, thank you pair Networks for your support! “@pairnetworks: Had an awesome day Daytona International Speedway with @leilanimunter

Way down on power – ignition issue. Not much we can do except turn the laps.

A little early strategy, hanging back with a little to see what happens.

The Scariest Thing in the Ocean is not Sharks (Sunday Irony)

When it comes to sharks, we may dedicate a week of TV programming to them but the simple fact is, we know so precious little about them. Much of their lives are a mystery.
So how to we go about saving them, if we don’t know all that much about them?” (Shark Savers)

Surging demand for shark fin soup is the primary cause of the devastating overfishing of sharks. The best way to lower demand is by educating consumers where consumption is the highest. Shark Savers’ “I Pledge” Shark Fin Soup campaign accomplishes this by collecting the personal testimonials of people who have stopped eating shark fin soup. This is the first in a series of multi-lingual films, PSAs, websites, printed materials, and billboards that are being produced and distributed in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, and the Chinatowns of the world. Learn more: