Once again, an ex-SeaWorld employee has come forward to take a public stand against the cruel theme park, offering insider details about the animals’ miserable lives. 

Some former employees have shared their behind-the-scenes accounts of the park with the public, while others haven’t been lucky enough to be able to talk openly about their experiences because SeaWorld has enforced gag orders or threatened lawsuits against most who have tried to share the truth about the company’s cruel practices.

Seaworld orca trainer

Sarah Fischbeck, a water quality diver who worked at SeaWorld San Diego from 2007 to 2013, told The Dodo about her firsthand experience as an employee with the company in an exclusive interview.

“If people knew what I know, or saw what I have seen, [SeaWorld] wouldn’t sell another ticket,” she said. 

Like so many of these accounts, it begins with the orcas.

Recently, a PETA Foundation veterinarian, Dr. Heather Rally, visited SeaWorld Orlando in Florida and discovered rake marks on a number of orcas and other dolphins. Rake marks are injuries on an animal’s skin that are caused by the teeth of another animal during an aggressive attack. With no place for animals to escape fights, these attacks can result in painful and serious injuries. Fischbeck confirmed the attacks and pointed out that they occurred regularly because of the frustration and stress that the animals experience in captivity.


Fischbeck said that during these fights, the orcas tore off each other’s skin and that the dead skin looked like strips of black rubber at the bottom of the tanks. Employees, she explained, took the dead flesh home to their families—as souvenirs. WTF!

And it wasn’t just the orcas who suffered.

Fischbeck described garbage found in the penguin enclosure, which led to health problems in the animals; the unnatural breeding of animals like Ruby, a beluga whale who violently and repeatedly rejected her calves but was still used to breed; and how a baby dolphin ran into a wall to escape aggression from other dolphins and ultimately died. Other dolphins ended up falling onto the concrete outside the tanks. Just as Dr. Rally reported, Fischbeck saw walruses compulsively regurgitate food.


In the interview, Fischbeck criticized SeaWorld’s unnatural breeding programs, saying she thought some of the dolphins’ aggression was a result of them. SeaWorld has long floated the idea that the company’s breeding programs are natural, but the process sounds anything but. When breeding orcas, a team of trainers will sexually stimulate a male orca, collect his sperm, and then forcibly shove tubes into the female victim’s vagina. If she resists, workers may remove her from the water, leaving her unable to swim away or fight back.


Fischbeck voluntarily left SeaWorld in December 2013. You can read her detailed original account on The Dodo.

What You Can Do

Never visit any SeaWorld park, and urge your friends and family to stay away, too. Every dollar spent at these parks contributes to animals’ suffering. 

Spread the truth. Together, we can help animals imprisoned at SeaWorld!

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