Tuesday 9 September 2014

Awesome Ocean, misses information and misses the point yet again!

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 19
They 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.

 This is part of the court transcript. As people have to be sworn in at court and documentation is taken very seriously, there was no way Jeff Andrews could deny that he DID blame her, yet people like you still deny it. The evidence is there to see! 

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?? 
  Sep 7
@ This young lady said YOU state there are transient orcas in your tanks. As she is your fan could you explain ...
She then tweeted to say she didn't want to be involved so even though the facts were there she didn't want to know.
 @ I haven't, just the one to Seaworld as they have informed you incorrectly. They owe it to you to put you right.

 Then there is Bridgette Davis, her relationship with Blackfish is no one's concern but her own but the reasons she gave for leaving Seaworld are something different entirely. You often use her as a point of reference but despite asking her many times if the interviews she gave prior to Blackfish were true she declines to answer. If Blackfish had never been made would she still stand by the things she said as they were in relation to how Seaworld manipulated it staff, how they made her feel and how they used those orcas. See for yourself here
This interview is also reflected in her book review and in other interviews with the likes of Nat Geo. She states
SeaWorld has an opportunity right now.  They can spend the money to fight to preserve the appearance of the fallacies they have been built on OR they can spend that money on the animals that deserve it.  I spent too many years watching decisions made to spend money on show elements, playgrounds or barbeque restaurants.  Now is the time to let actions speak louder then words.  Give the animals the best.  Update facilities that haven’t seen any expansion since the 80s.  Ultimately, the same concerns voiced as a result of Dawn’s accident had been voiced after incidents in the past. Lessons not learned and continually disregarded. Many of those taking care of the animals are fighting for less responsibility to be placed upon their ever-drooping dorsal fins. Show schedules, public interactions, and dining obligations create a strain on animals already in a highly stressed environment. They are proudly introduced as “ambassadors” but they are simply work horses for a profit hungry industry desperate to remain relevant in a society that has already begun to recognize we have moved past such a trite necessity. Until parks like SeaWorld exhale their dying breathe, tighter regulations and stronger accountability for adhering to such guidelines is a given.''

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. 
This is an easy one to answer, please explain what holding an orca at half base would entail? Seaworld explain training using food very well!
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.)

Seaworlds poster above states killer whales have a survival NEARLY equal to their wild counterparts. Nearly???? Seaworld have been telling people for ages that their orcas receive exception vet care, they receive restaurant quality fish, swim in clean filtered water, and have none of the stress's of those in the wild like finding food etc (they are apex predators, they like finding food). If this is true then Seaworld orcas should outlive those in the wild hands down, but they only manage a NEARLY.  They also mention nothing about the 45 dead in those 50 years they have been open either, you cannot sweep things like that under the carpet they need to address it not deflect onto Blackfish and rescues.
  • 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.)
As you can see from my blog information I state that the only Taiji cetacean in the US is at the Hawaiian Institute which they got from the US Navy. Once again people like you miss the point of what is being said to you. It is because of places like Seaworld where people are told the marine mammals are perfectly happy that more aquariums are springing up across the globe. Seaworld fail to tell those places that 45 orcas have died and 243 dolphins have also died in their short 50 year history, it is all documented but some people just see the money. It also fails to tell people that dolphins have bitten guests and attacked trainers whilst swimming with them, so dolphin swim programmes are also opening up elsewhere. Now Seaworld themselves are wanting to move to countries where the regulations are not so tough. As for the drive hunts, watch this it shows interviews with the likes of Brad Andrews, and also shows how easily lies fall out of those peoples mouths. I know you probably wont watch but for the benefit of research only I would suggest you do. In the case of the anti-SeaWorld activists, it’s not a lack of information, it’s a partially conscious, partially hardwired drive to reject any and all material that would shake the foundations of their convictions.

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


1 comment:

  1. Thank you For setting the record straight. So many of us are sickened and disgusted with Seaworld's sick twisted self serving unclassy lies and the entire world knows the truth: Seaworld is a worthless money hungry corporation ran by Demons who are failing miserably and are embarrassing themselves on a World Wide Scale