Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity

by David Kirby

From the New York Times bestselling author of Evidence of Harm and Animal Factory comes DEATH AT SEAWORLD (St. Martin’s Press; July 17, 2012; Hardcover) a groundbreaking scientific examination that exposes the dark side of SeaWorld, America’s most beloved marine mammal park.  From the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, to other, less-publicized violent incidents, journalist David Kirby puts these brutal animal-on-human attacks in context and explores the controversial and even lethal ramifications of keeping killer whales in captivity.

DEATH AT SEAWORLD introduces the real people taking part in this debate, from former trainers turned animal rights activists to the men and women that champion SeaWorld and the captivity of whales. Kirby follows the story of Naomi Rose Ph.D., marine mammal scientist for The Humane Society of the United States and senior scientist for The Humane Society International, whose warnings against keeping killer whales in captivity fell on deaf ears.  He also covers the media backlash, the eyewitnesses who come forward to challenge SeaWorld’s glossy image, and the groundbreaking OSHA vs. SeaWorld case. On May 30, 2012, the judge ruled on this case, stating that trainers performing with huge ocean predators need to be protected by physical barriers, or some other means providing the same level of safety.  The strict standard could effectively prevent SeaWorld from ever allowing its trainers to get back into the water during shows with the whales.


A gripping investigation… Hard to put down.”
Booklist (***Starred Review)

One of the “great books” of the summer
The Columbus Dispatch

#1 Readers Poll Choice for Summer Books
Wall Street Journal Online

“A masterful work.” –Seattle Post Intelligencer

“Lives are at stake here, and Kirby can be trusted to tell the story, having won a passel of awards for his investigative work.”
– Library Journal

“Kirby’s knockout format is articulate and mind-blowing. This riveting read is not one that will easily be dismissed.”
Digital Journal

“Journalist Kirby offers another passionate industry exposé … the narrative goes into high gear with its concluding confrontation.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Kirby places this much-publicized tragic incident within the context of decades of warnings by marine biologists and animal advocates about the risks of keeping these giant predators in captivity. A real-life scientific thriller.”
– Barnes and Noble

5 Responses to Introducing DEATH AT SEAWORLD

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting story..

  2. Ana says:

    Amazing book, one that every animal lover should read. ~Ana, Croatia

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can’t put the book down! Goes hand in hand with the Blackfish documentary. Well written with thorough examples. Strongly urge anyone to pick up the book, even if you are not an animal lover (you will become one after reading Death at SeaWorld.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    thank you for your comment. keep up the good work.

  5. Spock says:

    Sea World needs to read this book and learn from its mistakes. .Changes need to be made for the respectfull treatment of Orcas. . .Love Spock

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