A former SeaWorld trainer on Tuesday released a tell-all book about his time at the park, condemning its practices as “detrimental to whales and ultimately unsafe for trainers.”
Titled “Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld and the Truth Beyond Blackfish,” the book explores the differences between whales in captivity and those in the wild and scrutinizes the park’s practices.
Author John Hargrove was featured on the SeaWorld-critical documentary “Blackfish,” and according to published reports, worked in San Diego and Texas parks.
A synopsis of his book on Amazon.com described Hargrove’s journey to writing the book as being borne out of doubt that the whales’ needs could be met in captivity.
“When two fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove decided that SeaWorld’s wildly popular programs were both detrimental to the whales and ultimately unsafe for trainer,” the Amazon synopsis states.
Reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon, SeaWorld San Diego spokesman David Koontz said the park had no official statement about Hargrove’s book.
Not all trainers share Hargrove's views. Former trainer Kyle Kittleson has previously told NBC 7 that he believes 85 percent of the facts in the “Blackfish” are untrue.
SeaWorld has battled negative publicity since the 2013 release of “Blackfish,” and park attendance dropped by 4 percent last year.
SeaWorld has long defended its practices and last year announced the construction of larger environments for animals, namely Orcas, and that it would fund research programs to protect whales in the wild.