Friday, October 9, 2015

Unanimous Coastal Commission Ruling Breathes Life into #Blackfish Bill AB2140

Anyone who carefully observes or works for SeaWorld (SW) probably realizes that things with the company are sometimes not what they appear to be. 

SW spends tens of millions, annually, to craft perceptions, win politicians, lobby, & also to tarnish critics. As an aside, imagine how far that money could go toward salmon restorationBut at SW, sending bus-loads of hourly employees to a political event in an attempt to influence optics for the CA Coastal Commission is a good return on investment, usually

Update: SeaWorld sues [read on]

On 8 October 2015 SeaWorld bused hundreds of hourly employees & family to the Long Beach Convention Center to create an illusion; to conflate the fact that only 21% of Americans support orca captivity with the fantasy that captivity has strong & widespread public support. It doesn't, and more & more people are figuring out what it truly means to be "pro-cap."

Dr Ingrid Visser with Actress-Model Pamela Anderson. Both spoke at the hearings. Photo by Kim Ventre 

Long Beach was the site of the California Coastal Commission's (CCC) hearing on SeaWorld's proposed Blue World project (BWP). An expansion that is (or was) intended to boost SeaWorld's captive orca population through natural & artificial insemination methods. The hearing was an historic one in terms of attendance & public engagement. 

SeaWorld's self-titled "mob buses" brought in plenty of support, but employees may have been on the clock because those workers evaporated like California's water supply.  

#EmptyThe.... Chairs! -- Did SeaWorld want to avoid overtime to workers on the clock? 

Maybe SW was being frugal and didn't want to pay its people overtime [we were told they were on the clock] because when the buses departed back to SW headquarters the "mob" was gone.  And despite Commissioner Cox's efforts to cement SeaWorld's legacy at San Diego, the few SeaWorld employees remaining didn't like what they heard. 

2 bad days @ work. You'd think a risky job, like pro football player, would come with union protection. Not @SeaWorld

In a unanimous vote the CCC granted SeaWorld the right to build Blue World, but with a major condition: No more orca breeding 

As reported by The Times of San Diego: 

By a 12-0 vote, the California Coastal Commission blessed the Blue World Project. The decision came at an overflow meeting in the Long Beach Convention Center that saw dozens of passionate speeches, including one by animal-rights activist Pamela Anderson. 
But Commissioner Dayna Bochco of San Francisco... proposed an amendment to prohibit any breeding of orcas, their artificial insemination or their trade or transfer among other parks. Another condition is a cap of 15 whales at the San Diego attraction, which now houses 11. 
Bochco’s amendment to Condition 1 passed 11-1, with only Greg Cox — a San Diego County supervisor — dissenting.

The "no breeding" condition didn't sit well with SeaWorld's leadership. The statement, below, by CEO Joel Manby is ironic considering SeaWorld has traditionally argued that it's animals have no rights. Are Manby's days numbered? 

Treating the whales as property allows for SW to imprison them without considering how the whales feel about that. It also allows the corporation to ship them overseas to places like Loro Parque. There's more... 

Ironic that the "warden" is claiming that captive orcas  have rights 

Blue World is Also a Political Maneuver to Sink AB-2140

On the surface, San Diego makes the least sense for BWP. SeaWorld doesn't own the land; the city does. Construction costs are higher in California v Texas or Orlando. Wouldn't a company with huge debt, like SeaWorld, seek the best deal on such an expensive project? 

The corporate HQ's & highest attended park is Orlando, not San Diego. SW in FL and SW in TX don't need to ask commissioners for approval. The politics, on the surface, favor Orlando & San Antonio as cheaper & easier sites for a 50 ft deep concrete orca tank. So why spend millions to lobby approval for and to construct BWP at Mission Bay, the most expensive site?

Because BWP is about political clout, crushing upcoming legislation, and thus cementing SeaWorld's grasp on captivity inside the USA. California is the world's 8th largest economy, behind #7, Brazil.

Had BWP moved forward, un-amended, San Diego was expected to become the "West Coast puppy mill for killer whales." This would be complimented nicely by SeaWorld's proposed "Worlds largest fish farm" just a few miles from the San Diego park. Granted, the farm is touted to "grow" yellow-fin tuna, but SeaWorld famously does not recognize dietary or cultural differences between ecotypes, and killer whales are known to eat tuna. Look here. Or here

Site of SeaWorld's proposed fish farm, the world's largest;  Just a few miles off the San Diego Coast. 

Additionally, SeaWorld has [already] announced expansion plans to shareholders & wants to increase its killer whale assets for shipments abroad, including to China and Dubai. Thanks to Commissioner Bocho, the "puppy mill" idea has been thwarted, for now. But that's not the end of the story.  

Connecting Blue World (BWP) with AB-2140 

SeaWorld understood that if the Commission green-lighted BWP, politicians would be inclined to vote down Richard Bloom's upcoming Blackfish Bill AB-2140, aka The Orca Welfare & Safety Act. That bill is sponsored by three former SeaWorld killer whale trainers, Carol Ray, John Hargrove and Samantha Berg, and was tabled last year using political maneuvering. SeaWorld was fond of portraying AB-2140 as "dead." Listen to Carol discuss Bloom's proposed legislation, here.

Because BWP is a multi-year, one-hun
dred million dollar project, it would impact dozens or hundreds of potential jobs & businesses around California, and the politicians that represent them. BWP would require construction crews, crane operators, engineers, water quality experts, environmental scientists, architects, employment contracts, and more. It is strongly supported by the San Diego business community & politicians on both sides of the aisle. 

This is because politicians put jobs & economic growth ahead of orca welfare. And SeaWorld knows this. But... 


Not So Fast 

Now, with a unanimous vote by a state agency which is on the record and opposed to captive orca breeding, Richard Bloom's AB-2140 has new life and legs.  Like the recent lunar eclipse, AB-2140 has moved into alignment with the BWP, both would make it illegal for SeaWorld to breed captive killer whales in California. 

And this was immediately apparent to Assemblymember Richard Bloom who went onto social media to express that he's moving forward, now. 

Regarding the BWP in California, its future is uncertain. Some predict that SeaWorld will file a lawsuit vs the CCC. Others predict it will abandon the idea. 

Behind closed doors, here is the conversation, from SeaWorld's perspective:

1) The CCC did not have legal authority to make the decision that it did! We need to sue them -- confirmed. SW will sue. 

2) Do we want 2-3 more years of mostly negative press associated with litigation?

3) Is our tank expansion worth taking to a friendlier site, such as Orlando?

4) Is now the time to accelerate our plans for expansion into China or Dubai where laws make it easier for us to do our business?

SeaWorld's attorney, David Watson, angrily told the panel “the state of California does not have jurisdiction to regulate the management & care of marine mammal collections”

Thanks to Haze Sommer -- Watch Recorded Streams of The Hearings  HERE: 

The Last World by Commissioner Bocho

When you've lost Willie, you've lost America 

In regard to SeaWorld's next move, only time will tell. But one thing's for sure: The captivity industry is struggling in part due to the work of good souls, facts & the Blackfish Effect.

-------------------  From Dodo, Below   ----------------------

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Latest Lawsuit Names SeaWorld & Four Other Defendants



Defendants, and for cause of action would show unto the Court as follows:

On information and belief... Plaintiff and JH were engaged in conversation that included Plaintiff confiding in JH...  multiple times during the conversation Hargrove addressed Plaintiff by name. At no time, either prior to, or during the conversation, did Plaintiff or Hargrove consent to the videotaping or recording of their telephone conversation. Nevertheless, Defendants Jimmy Vera and/or Bridget Davis (who were present with Hargrove at the time of the conversation) video recorded the conversation between Plaintiff and Hargrove.

On further information and belief, in March 2015 (and subsequent to Hargrove having been featured in the 2013 film entitled "Blackfish" -- a documentary aimed at creating public awareness regarding Defendant SeaWorld's alleged propensity to put profits over the safety of the animals kept in captivity), Defendant SeaWorld, by and through Defendant AwesomeOcean, paid a large sum of money to Defendant Davis and/or Defendant Vera for the video recorded telephone conversation between Plaintiff and Hargrove. On information and belief, both Defendant Davis and Defendant Vera are, and at all times relevant to this lawsuit have been, employees of Defendant Sea World.

Shortly after procuring the video recorded telephone conversation from Defendant Davis and/or Defendant Vera, on information and belief, Defendant SeaWorld forwarded said video to Defendant Orlando Sentinel and requested that Defendant Orlando Sentinel publicly disseminate the video.

Thereafter, Defendant Orlando Sentinel publicly disseminated the video recorded telephone conversation at issue through publication in its newspaper, via its website, and (on information and belief) through various other media outlets, including Defendant AwesomeOcean's website.

The above delineated acts and/or omissions of the 5 Defendants constitute violations of several laws in both the State of Texas, and the State of Florida, as follows:


The elements of a cause of action under the Texas Civil Wiretap Act are the following:

a) The Plaintiff was a party to the communication.
b) The Defendants engaged in one or more of the following acts:

Intercepted the contents of the communication with an electronic, mechanical, or other device without the consent of one of the parties to the communication ("nonconsensual interception"), attempted to make a nonconsensual interception of the contents of the communication, employed or obtained another to make a nonconsensual interception of the contents of the communication, used information it knew or reasonably should have known was obtained by a nonconsensual interception of the communication, or  divulged information it knew or reasonably should have known was obtained by a nonconsensual interception of the communication.

Accordingly, as delineated herein above, because all five Defendants violated one or more of the foregoing provisions of the Texas Civil Wiretap Act, all five Defendants are liable to Plaintiff for damages as prayed for herein below.

Exemplary damages

Plaintiff's injuries resulted from Defendants' gross negligence, malice, or actual fraud, which entitles Plaintiff to exemplary damages under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §41.003

Attorney fees

Plaintiff is entitled to recover reasonable and necessary attorney fees under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §123.004(5).

Statutory damages

Plaintiff is entitled to recover statutory damages in the amount of $10,000.00 from each Defendant, for each occurrence, pursuant to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §123.004(3).

Count 2 - Intrusion on Seclusion.  

As delineated herein above, Defendants intentionally intruded on Plaintiff's solitude/seclusion/private affairs.The intrusion was a kind that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. Defendants' wrongful acts caused injury to Plaintiff, which resulted in damages as prayed for herein below.

Exemplary damages. Plaintiff's injuries resulted from Defendants' malice, which entitles Plaintiff to exemplary damages under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §41.003(a).

Count 3 - Public Disclosure of Private Facts. 

In the alternative/addition to other counts, Defendants are liable to Plaintiff for invasion of privacy by public disclosure of private facts, to wit:

Defendants publicized information about the Plaintiff's private life.The publicity of Plaintiff's private information would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. The information publicized was not of legitimate public concern. Defendants' wrongful acts caused injury to Plaintiff, which resulted in damages as prayed for herein below.

Exemplary damages. 

Plaintiff's injuries resulted from Defendants' malice, which entitles Plaintiff to exemplary damages under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §41.003(a).

Count 4 - Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress In the alternative to all other counts, Defendants are liable to Plaintiff for intentional infliction of emotional distress, to wit:

a) The Plaintiff is a person.
b) Defendants acted intentionally or recklessly.
c) The emotional distress suffered by the Plaintiff was severe.
d) Defendants' conduct was extreme and outrageous.
e) Defendants' conduct proximately caused the Plaintiff's emotional distress.
f) No alternative cause of action would provide a remedy for the severe emotional distress caused by Defendants' conduct.

Accordingly, Plaintiff is entitled to monetary damages as prayed for herein below.


Plaintiff demands a jury trial and tenders the appropriate fee with this petition.


Under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194, Plaintiff requests that Defendants disclose, within 50 days of the service of this request, the information or material described in Rule 194.2.


For these reasons, Plaintiff asks that the Court issue citation for Defendants to appear and answer, and that Plaintiff be awarded a judgment against Defendants for the following:

a) Actual damages.
b) Statutory damages.
c) Exemplary damages.
d) Prejudgment and postjudgment interest.
e) Court costs.
f) All other relief to which Plaintiff may be justly entitled.

Respectfully submitted,