Former SeaWorld Trainer Makes International Appeal

Posted on by Nirali Shah

Desperate to prop up its dying business, SeaWorld is considering expanding to Dubai. Former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove is working with PETA in calling on the emir of Dubai to refuse to allow the abusement park to set up shop in the United Arab Emirates. In a letter sent to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 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 bestselling 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. In Dubai and around the world, there is a growing backlash against keeping marine animals in captivity.”

—John Hargrove


Orcas at SeaWorld San Antonio.

Orcas at SeaWorld San Antonio.

Hargrove also points to SeaWorld’s dropping attendance, lost corporate sponsors, and mounting lawsuits as evidence of its unrecoverable loss of public favor. PETA is calling on SeaWorld not to flee to Dubai but rather to develop ocean sanctuaries in which orcas could finally have some semblance of a natural life. More than 236,000 people have already signed petitions opposing its expansion to Dubai. For more information on the campaign against SeaWorld, please visit

What You Can Do

Read the truth about marine parks, and continue to stay away from them. Inform your friends and family members about the abuse of marine animals in captivity so that they, too, choose never to support marine theme parks or aquariums.