Many SeaWorld orcas were on daily drugs to treat chronic stress, several of the park’s former trainers have told The Dodo.
“We had whales who were on medication every single day of their life,” said John Hargrove, who was a trainer at SeaWorld San Diego and SeaWorld San Antonio for a combined 14 years. Hargrove recently wrote a book about his experience at the park.
The Dodo spoke to Hargrove and former trainers Samantha Berg, John Jett, Carol Ray and Jeffrey Ventre about the medications they administered to captive orcas at SeaWorld’s three parks. From antipsychotics to decrease testosterone to benzodiazepines to calm the animals, the orcas needed a wealth of drugs to survive in a tank, and some of the drugs were so powerful they even put humans administering them at risk, the trainers allege.