Former SeaWorld Trainer John Hargrove Honored for His Courage

Published by PETA.

Former senior SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove was the guest of honor on Sunday at a special PETA reception at South Florida’s gourmet vegan restaurant Sublime Restaurant & Bar. Sublime owner Nanci Alexander presented Hargrove with PETA’s Courage of Conviction Award for blowing the whistle on and exposing SeaWorld’s mistreatment of captive orcas in the CNN documentary Blackfish, in public appearances such as on The Daily Show, and in his New York Times bestselling book, Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond ‘Blackfish.

Nanci Alexander, John Hargrove, and Ingrid Newkirk

Nanci Alexander, John Hargrove, and Ingrid Newkirk


John Hargrove is presented with PETA's Courage of Conviction award.

John Hargrove is presented with PETA’s Courage of Conviction award.


“John Hargrove fulfilled his childhood dream to work at SeaWorld, only to realize how devastating captivity is to far-ranging orcas,” says PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews. “PETA is recognizing John for kicking off the global awareness campaign that has opened people’s eyes, decimated attendance at SeaWorld, and cost the park bookings and sponsors ranging from Southwest Airlines to Taco Bell.”

Thanks to Hargrove’s testimony, the world has learned how orcas suffer physically and psychologically when they’re separated from their families, confined to tiny concrete tanks, and forced to perform circus-style tricks for food. He joins PETA in calling on SeaWorld to develop ocean sanctuaries in which orcas could finally have some semblance of a natural life.

What You Can Do

Please take a moment to ask SeaWorld to immediately set in place a firm and rapid plan to release the animals to sanctuaries that can provide them with a more natural environment. And please vote for Beneath the Surface in the GoodReads Choice award semifinals!

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind