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Captive Whale Kills One More SeaWorld Trainer

Written by PETA | February 24, 2010
walten.files / CC

Earlier this afternoon, another trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando was killed after being pulled into the tank by an orca named Tilikum (or Tilly, for short). According to a witness, the whale, who has been involved in two previous fatal incidents involving human beings and who our captive wildlife director, Debbie Leahy, describes as “12,300 pounds of sheer rage,” leapt out of the tank and grabbed the trainer by the waist, pulled her into the water, threw her around like a rag doll, and then held her underwater until she drowned. SeaWorld officials canceled the dolphin and whale shows for the rest of the day, but SeaWorld remains open (have they no shame?!) and will continue to exploit and abuse these captive animals despite the many horrific injuries and deaths of trainers and animals that have occurred throughout the theme park’s history.

PETA has long been asking SeaWorld to stop taking wild, ocean-going mammals from their families and ocean homes and confining them with no semblance of a life to an area that, to them, is the size of a bathtub. No wonder these huge, intelligent animals, like the beaten elephants in the Ringling Bros. circus, lash out after being forced into subservience and forced to perform stupid circus tricks for their food for so long. For years, PETA has been calling on SeaWorld to switch to hugely popular robotic replacements like those used in the amazing “Walking With the Dinosaurs” exhibit. The public needs to stand up now against this cruelty and stop patronizing aquariums and whale and dolphin shows. Please join us in saying, “Enough!”

Written by Logan Scherer

Commenting is closed.
  • michelle says:

    I hate to say this but i fell bad yes fr whoo has passed but THEY ARE WILD ANIMALS THAT BELONG IN THE FRIGGING OCEAN AND SO ON. I don’t get it They travel in packs. thees are fish tanks it makes me so mad. something has to be done, and something will be done trust me.

  • Ana says:

    I am SO SORRY I took my little daughter to SeaWorld — being from another country, I had the stupidity to think it was a place where my family could observe animals in their natural habitat (the name and the proximity to the ocean of the San Diego SeaWorld were extremely deceptive). I HATED seeing the dolphins and the orcas perform for food. I was appalled at the tiny size of the pools the poor animals were kept in and at the fact that I was offered for $250 to take my daughter into the pool with beluga whales to degrade these animals even further. The polar bears seemed extremely unhappy, pacing nervously; the sharks were completely out of their habitat, place with a cacophony of other poor fish in a tiny (I mean TINY) stuffy tank. To summarize it, my four year-old daughter said it best: “Mommy, I thought SeaWorld is going to be in the OCEAN and much more beautiful!” I totally agree. How foolish of me not to research this before shelling $44 per ticket, thus contributing to the continuation of the enslavement of animals.

  • janettencloe says:

    after the death of trainer dawn b. seaworld has stated that the other ( all) the other orca’s stopped behaving when given the trained gestures. humm. I’m not an expert, but that tells me that the whales are so smart and we are not for not listening. people please.

  • Dionne says:

    Jessica, you are not very intelligent! There is no comparison to a dog and a whale and if you have your dog living in a crate it’s entire life where it can only turn in a circle, then maybe you can compare it. Lots of whales mate for life, find a dog who does that. Whale families are a lot closer to that of a human. Also, we can not provide for a whale and make it happy. I have seen many a happy dog. Whales have a lot better chance in the ocean than they do an aquarium, it is like putting a goldfish in a cup.

  • mthomas says:

    Given the intelligence (measured and proven) and highly complex social intricacies of the Orca society, I was not surprised that this happened. No mammal deserves a cage this small, and this insulting as the ones that Sea World provides for these majestic mammals are forced to live inside. I don’t want to make this sound like I support or do now KNOW unequivocally the value of a human (OR ANY) life…… This is event undeniably tragic and senseless. However, any animal forced to perform and showcase their physical selves for the simple reward of FOOD should be considered not only shameful, but absolutely reprehensible. If you would like to SEE an Orca, please don’t expect to pay $40, and sit in a stadium while a natural and intellectual killer of the ocean plays “nicey nice” for you in a miniature chlorinated ocean, but spend time in researching a non-invasive trip to a natural a planet ocean where you can witness the spectacular natural beauty of a killer whale pod. It’s shameful that just because people can trap an animal and stick it in a tank, that they do. And when that animal lashes out at someone for whatever reason, people are automatically appalled at their behavior. I’m not sorry; this is a wild animal. You’re absolutely stupid if you think that’s not going to happen at some point. Let these poor whales back into the ocean where they belong, and quit supporting cruelty and mistreatment of naturally wild mammals.

  • Jessica says:

    Do any of you people that say taking an animal away from his family have pet? Cause if so your all hypocrites. A dog may be a dog but he has mom and dad too so if you own pet you took him away from his family but you gave him a home and love him and feed him and keep him away from things that will hurt him. Right! I’m not saying it’s right to screw an animal and put them in captivity but they will die in the real ocean and that’s not right either.

  • lilas says:

    let the peps from sea world do what they want so they can learn a lesson

  • tina boyd says:

    They really do need to blame whole institiution..people neeed to be educated that this isn’t entertainment, this is prison for mammals. Everyone is responsible, I will never take my kids to anything like that..

  • All Suffering Is Suffering says:

    To “Think, Then Speak” how on earth can you make a comment like that? Suffering is suffering, cruelty is cruelty. And what’s more – this story is about more than animal cruelty a human being has died just doing her job. I am first and foremost a human rights activist but I don’t go around criticising people that have taken up the cause of animals who cannot speak for themselves. There is no end to the horrible things happening on this planet – to humans, to animals and to the planet itself. If anyone wants to take up any of these causes they will have my support.

  • Think, Then Speak says:

    Those of you who spend all of your time worrying about animals… try concentrating of the people of the world first. If a human dies, you all say he deserved it, but an animal is in captivity, you act like it is the end of the world.

  • Emma says:

    Robotic whales? You’re kidding right?

  • blanca says:


  • Jan says:

    Jack Hannah you’re a IDIOT!!!! I Don’t like you anymore!! Letterman should stop having you on as a guest every other week.

  • Grimm says:

    While I feel sorry for the trainer’s family and those involved I am more concerned with the dolphins in Taiji Japan! They are being slaughtered and sold to these large aquatic showsparks. This should be our main concern. Stop the slaughter and marine mammal slavery and this type of accident will not happen again!

  • Captain Randy Cole says:

    As long as the public is willing to pay the exorbitant admission fees to see the Killer whales in a bathtub this will go on. The anger at Sea World should be directed at the general public for supporting such captivity and theme parks. That will never happen because the general public is clueless as to what captivity ia all about.

  • Olivia says:

    I do not agree at all these creatures are so intellegent they don’t deserve to be replaced.