John Hargrove Joins PETA Asia in Opposing SeaWorld’s Plans to Drag Its Failing Business to the Middle East

For Immediate Release:
November 24, 2015

Dubai — As SeaWorld mulls a possible expansion to Dubai, former SeaWorld trainer and current PETA supporter John Hargrove is calling on the emir of Dubai to refuse to allow SeaWorld to set up shop in the United Arab Emirates. In a letter sent to His Highness this morning, Hargrove notes that he was once approached to become SeaWorld Dubai’s senior trainer—but he left the company soon after to speak out against its mistreatment of captive orcas in the documentary Blackfish and in his New York Times best-selling book, Beneath the Surface.

“It was only after 14 years of training captive orcas that I came to realize that marine theme parks like SeaWorld must be relegated to the history books—and I’m not alone in that belief,” writes Hargrove. “In Dubai and around the world, there is a growing backlash against keeping marine animals in captivity.”

Hargrove also points to SeaWorld’s dropping attendance, lost corporate sponsors, and mounting lawsuits as evidence of its unrecoverable loss of public favor. More than 236,000 people have already signed petitions opposing its expansion to Dubai. “Allowing SeaWorld to take its cruel business model to Dubai—where kind people do not want it—would be a public-relations disaster,” Hargrove concludes. “Dubai would be throwing money down the drain if it invests one dirham in SeaWorld.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—is calling on SeaWorld not to flee overseas, but rather to develop ocean sanctuaries in which orcas could finally have some semblance of a natural life.

John Hargrove’s full letter is available here. For more information on the campaign against SeaWorld, please visit