Day after day, watching an adult male orca, Kanduke, who regularly rammed himself as hard as possible into the cement walls, metal gates, and glass panels in the show pool, his chin, teeth, and rostrum were so bloody and beat up, we sometimes were not allowed to bring him out to do shows because management said he just looked too bad for the public to see. As if it weren’t bad enough to watch him injure himself, I recall the heartache of watching him be physically attacked by the other orcas on a regular basis. Kanduke died of a condition that would never occur in the wild—a mosquito-transmitted encephalitis.
I watched an absolute wonder of the birth of two baby orcas, but then I also watched in horror as Kalina, the original baby Shamu, was forcibly removed from the only family she knew to be moved to another park when she was just four years old. I saw the unmistakable mourning and desperation of her mother, Katina, who was left behind. To this day, Katina has had five of her seven offspring taken from her.
I watched an orca named Gudrun suffer a serious jaw injury during an altercation with another whale and it took her weeks to be able to eat normally. She was never fully able to close her mouth after that.
I have watched dolphins suffer and fight through force feedings, only to starve and die. I have seen orcas almost drown in nets that trainers deploy. I have seen animals trapped in gates and writhe in pain. I have watched these normally docile-by-nature animals lunge at, and attempt to attack their trainers. Animals are inseminated and impregnated often at unnatural intervals and at ages that are way too young. Their teeth are chipped, broken, and unhealthy. I have had handfuls of orca skin come off in my hands from sunburn. I could go on and on, unfortunately. And these really are only a few glimpses into the real world whales and dolphins live in when they live in captivity. They are not the things you will be shown when you take a VIP tour, or you go to a show, or you listen to the things that people who currently work in the industry will share with you. But this is what happens in captivity.
—  Carol Ray, former SeaWorld trainer, in support of SB-5666, the bill to ban cetacean captivity in Washington state