Once again Awesome Ocean has produced something on their blog with masses of missing information, which leads their reader off on a totally different tangent and again it is a reflection of their biased opinion rather than an accurate report.
I will try to add in as much information as possible, so everyone gets a clear picture.
An Inconvenient Truth: Why Activists So Irrationally Defend Pseudoscience
Mark Simmons is, without a doubt, the most experienced trainer featured in the film “Blackfish.”
His 10 years at SeaWorld was the longest consecutive career with the SeaWorld orcas out of any of the former employees featured and his career with marine mammals has lasted nearly 30 years.
Firstly John Jett, PhD is a marine mammal scientist and visiting research professor at Stetson University, in Deland, Florida. Dr Jett was a trainer at Sea World of Florida for several years in the mid 1990’s. He worked extensively with Tilikum; was the big orca’s team leader, and also worked with Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by Tilikum on 24 February 2010.He has also written peer reviewed papers on the effects of captivity.
Carol Ray - She worked at SeaWorld, Orlando, Florida from 1987 to 1990, performing alongside orcas such as Gudrun and Kalina, also known as the original “Baby Shamu”, who died this past October. Exclusive interview
Kalina's animal profile says she was taken to do a tour of the parks, so as this is proven, ask yourself what does she have to lose from lying and what does Seaworld have to lose? Her story has never changed.
Jeffrey Ventre is a medical doctor, a former SeaWorld trainer, and an activist standing against orca captivity. He worked at SeaWorld from 1987-1995, and has seven years of experience training dolphins and whales. He has also written peer reviewed papers on orca captivity
Samantha Berg worked as an Animal Trainer for SeaWorld of Florida for 3-1/2 years from February of 1990 until August of 1993 alongside SeaWorld’s beluga whales as well as the killer whales of Shamu Stadium.Home page
John Hargrove, at age 20, was hired as an apprentice trainer at SeaWorld San Antonio. In 1995 was transferred to SeaWorld in California, where he worked until 2001, ultimately being promoted to a Senior Trainer at Shamu Stadium. Immediately after resigning from SeaWorld California, Hargrove was hired by Marineland in France until 2003. In France Hargrove conditioned and performed in-water interactions with orcas that had never been in the water with trainers before. He then left the industry until March of 2008, when he returned to SeaWorld in San Antonio where he was promoted to a Senior 1 trainer at Shamu Stadium. He worked there until resigning in August 2012. John Hargrove was promoted both times whilst working for Seaworld. He has a longer career working with orcas than that stated for Mark Simmons above.
Dean Gomersall worked at SeaWorld from 1987 to 1994. In 1994 Gomersall was working at the Sea Lion and Otter Stadium (after running the Whale and Dolphin stadium). Nearly sued Seaworld for slander
Mark Simmons - Mark Simmons, a SeaWorld trainer from 1987-96. He wasn't promoted past trainer and in interview says 99.9% of all orca injuries are the trainers own fault. Nice for Dawn!
He was the only trainer who had any hands-on experience with the film’s orca of choice, Tilikum. As you can see above this is incorrect He was the only person interviewed who made the journey with Tilikum from Sealand in Canada to SeaWorld Orlando. At the end of his SeaWorld career, he left to start his own consulting agency, the work of which involves improving the lives of cetaceans in zoological facilities across the world.
Again this is a debatable this as Ocean Embassy by Marks own admission sent Solomon Island dolphins to Dubai and still supports and advocates wild captures from the island. Taking animals from the wild does not improve their lives, otherwise it would still be allowed in the USA.
The link for the above is here
And unlike some of his “Blackfish” companions, there is no doubt as to his mental stability.
At the beginning of his newly released book Killing Keiko, Mark writes the following:
“There are those who would have you believe that killer whales at marine parks are somehow different than their wild brethren; that the whales in zoological facilities are crazed by years in ‘prison.’ In more then twenty-seven years working with and around killer whales in parks and the open ocean, I have never seen one ounce of evidence to support such a statement. What I have seen is that these amazing animals adapt well to almost any change. They are top predators, and among their many talents is the ability to thrive in many environments.” -Killing Keiko, page 19They have also NEVER killed a human in the wild, and the ones in Seaworld tanks are different as Seaworld bred hybrid orcas. The hybrids have no conservation value what so ever as there is no equivalent in the wild. Of all the aquariums holding orca, the only one with hybrid mixes is Seaworld. It also seems a coincidence that these orcas have the highest attack rates in the tanks, something maybe someone should look at.
Hybrid listing and genes can be seen here
No wild orca has ever been killed by a mosquito bite, yet those logging at the pool surface at Seaworld have. No wild orca has had it's teeth drilled out yet those at Seaworld have. No wild orca has ever eaten pounds of gelatin, yet those at Seaworld have as they get no hydration from frozen dead fish. No wild orca has given birth at the age of 6, but Seaworld orcas have. There is plenty of evidence showing that Seaworld orcas are different from their wild brethren, if you choose to see it, but when your livelihood depends on captives you wouldn't see it would you?
Despite this definitive statement from an incredibly reliable source, first-person interviews, piles of scientific papers on orca behavior, biology and lifespans, and numerous facilities releasing information to the contrary, the activists and their keyboard following still spout the antiquated, falsified ideas and claims made in the film “Blackfish,” the book “Death at SeaWorld,” and by various anti-zoological figures throughout their movement.
Firstly people have been protesting since the days of Namu. The UK closed its parks in the 90's as the outcry from protestors was so strong, there hasn't been a captive cetacean since. The majority of information from activists comes from Seaworld's own orca profiles, court reports, necropsy files, they have nothing to do with Blackfish or Death at Seaworld. For instance, Seaworld protest that they never blamed Dawn for her own death, when presented with the video of Thad Lacinak, they said he didn't work for Seaworld, yet Seaworld let him speak for them. But despite that people still looked for evidence and found things like this.
Why do activists whole-heartedly believe pseudoscience?
The definition of pseudoscience is ''a claim, belief or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status''.
As activists are always looking for scientific, peer reviewed data I think you will find that is is people like yourselves who provide no back up evidence to anything and your reports verge more towards your opinions than actual science or evidence. I have picked this up and challenged you many times on exactly the same thing here, here, here, here and numerous times here. On many occasions Seaworld very own website contradicts what you have said on your blog and as you can see from all the articles listed of yours, not once do you provide evidence to prove what you say, which then leaves it again as your opinion only.
What makes this vocal minority so resistant to new information? What makes them cling to a series of tweets from Samantha Berg or John Jett over actual scientific data? Why do they so violently reject the ideas of behavioral experts like Dr. Grey Stafford when he makes statements that don’t align with their agenda?
It isn't a vocal minority, nor are people guided by tweets. Most people check the information others send out and they send it as information again you could make the comparison between that and the truth team emails which send instructions, as you do on your Stand with Seaworld and podcast sites.
I personally think Blackfish was a godsend to the likes of you and Seaworld as I believe you try in vain to keep the focus on the movie in the hope that it keeps people from seeing the real evidence in those tanks, sadly this is not the case as you will find people like yourselves mention Blackfish a lot more than we do as we have nothing to hide.
As for Grey Stafford, I also looked at the scientists on Blackfish, whom yourselves and Seaworld have slated terribly trying to discredit their abilities. I would be grateful if you would show me where someone has slated Grey Stafford in the meantime, please point out which bit of these people's abilities you question. Their publications and the fact they are deemed authoritative enough to speak for the courts, for NOAA and for the IWC Scientific Committee speaks volumes in itself don't you think?
Why have articles authored by myself and others that bring to attention the carelessness of the anti-SeaWorld moment, (it has no time for the plight of wild orcas), made some people so angry they’ve launched verbal attacks on my character and intelligence, rather then the ideas I’ve presented?
As above, this is because you provide no evidence to what you have to say, you don't check what you say, as in the start of this article which compares Mark Simmons abilities against the other trainers, has Mark Simmons written peer reviewed papers? I think not.
The answer is simple: they don’t want to believe it. They will do anything in their power to not have to believe it. As for this statement, show me any link you have provided in this article to prove what you have had to say.
Their brains are wired that way.
Psychologists have often observed a phenomena associated with strong beliefs, that of confirmation bias (for a research based interpretation of confirmation bias, see source 1.) The basic idea of confirmation bias is simply that once an individual has developed an emotional investment to an idea or concept, (in this case that SeaWorld and similar facilities are the root of all evil and that the “brave” team of “Blackfish” activists are selfless animal lovers to be emulated) it will alter the way they receive new information relating to the topic.
Since the keyboard activists have such an emotional stake in their “cause,” their responses to related information tends to be wild, irrational and aggressive.
If information is consistent with the deeply held convictions, the activists embrace it. If it’s contradictory, they reject it. Regardless of content, source, or credibility.
As you will note from my twitter, I tweeted you this link it concerns people being in denial, I think you should read it.
I have had many many conversations with Seaworld supporters who when presented with a scientific fact, degenerate into name calling, rather than face that they could actually be wrong and Seaworld have lied to them. For instance a conversation I had only a few days ago. The girl in question stated that Seaworld had said the orcas in those tanks are transients. I explained they weren't as transients are mammal eaters and 1, we are mammals and 2, seaworld feed them fish, not seals. She still argued that she wouldn't be budged as she had been behind the scenes and Seaworld had told her that, so I sent her this.
She still said as Seaworld had told her this I was lying, so I contacted Seaworld myself, partly because she was making herself look silly and partly because Seaworld claims to be an educational institution so why would she have the wrong information??
CC Tragically Sad
This is not the voice of someone who had a fall out with Blackfish this is someone speaking out against Seaworld themselves. Yet now she writes for you as if none of this has ever been said. As Seaworld should know your past always catches up with you.
Some examples of this include:
- Continuing to accuse trainers of using food deprivation techniques to elicit behaviors, despite the fact that behavior professionals and PHDs have repeatedly and definitively debunked it.
Seaworld trainer explains what holding an animal at half base is
- (For scientific papers on the use of positive reinforcement in exotic animal training, see citation 2) Seaworld's version is above
- Stating ludicrous lifespan numbers like 4 and 5 for orcas in zoological facilities and 90-100 for wild orcas, despite the scientific literature that shows both numbers to be much closer to the 30-40 range (with wild lifespans decreasing.) (See citation 3.)
- Claiming SeaWorld and similar facilities still acquire animals from the Taiji dolphin drive fisheries, despite multiple layers of legislation, regulation and government review processes that make this impossible (and a breeding program that makes it redundant.) (See citation 4.)
This is how they rationalize treating John Hargrove and Carol Ray like deities and ignoring the contradictory ideas put forth by equally (if not more) experienced and reputable former trainers like Mark Simmons. It’s how they frantically promote scientific material from Dr. Naomi Rose, but disregard NOAA’s reports on the lifespan of the Southern Resident Orcas (see citation 5).
It’s how they justify endless displays of anger and sadness of the death of an orca in human care, but ignores the inconveniently timed recent deaths of two of the very same Southern Residents.
They weren't ignored, nor was the recent birth in the Southern Resident pod either. No one knows what the 2 orcas have died from as there is no necropsy reports but in comparison, there are necropsy reports for the Seaworld orcas, which show a very different picture of their lives that what you are told in the parks. If you want to ask specific questions about the deceased orcas I will try to answer and give you the evidence if you can't find it yourself. As for Naomi Rose, she is on the IWC Scientific Committee, deemed good enough to speak out in court, yet you see her as not good enough to speak out against Seaworld, why is that? Her stats stack up and she can also back up what she says, evidence is the key to most things.
It’s not always deliberate hypocrisy, it’s human nature. But to make a real and meaningful difference for animals, activists need to be aware of their bias and work to process relevant information accurately.
That is a very true statement and your bias is shockingly apparent. Debate is a healthy way of handling most questions yet you have blocked or banned anyone who offers a differing opinion to yourself. A lot of your fans are ignorant and abusive with people, but that is maybe because both yourselves and Seaworld have been too. All most people are interest in is facts and proving those facts not putting out their opinion which is what you Eric and Mike do an awful lot. Its not fair to anyone looking for information especially Seaworld fans with wrong information as above.
Our priorities should adjust with what the science, not propaganda films, define as the problem. And more and more definitively, the science and experts are pointing toward an increasingly unhealthy wild environment and away from the wildly misunderstood and misrepresented lives of animals in zoological facilities.
You are right the priorities should adjust with science, and as above most people protesting are not moved either way by Blackfish. Scientists have stated numerous times that there is a problem in those tanks, Vancouver has listened, Clearwater has listened, Jamaican Government has stopped new dolphin facilities opening, Seaworld shares, attendance, etc dropped. People are moving away from such facilities as scientific awareness grows. Had Blackfish never been made, the deaths, the attacks, the fights amongst orcas, the juvenile births, the separating of mothers and their offspring would still have happened. It isn't those protesting that need to face the truth its is you and the people you mislead with your information. Open your page to healthy debate, mine is and always has been open, delete those who name call from both sides, but let the truth and the facts show themselves as you cannot stay under your comfort blankets for long before you realise you have been blinded by a lot of things.
Lastly as you seem to have a thing about Naomi Rose, this was the solution she put forward. She has never asked for Seaworld to close she presented a win win situation for both the orcas and Seaworld, it makes interesting reading and has many fact based data links too. Take a look for yourself here