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on 3 October 2013
Why are humans so cruel ? And why do we advocate certain cruelty acts to animals ?

David Kirby not only highlights the truths that go on in the animal entertainment industry but he also sticks his neck far beyond what others would do or say .

Watch Blackfish which accompanies this book and you will see the foolishness people will do to become stars if these so called trainers are that passionate about whales and dolphins surely studying these wonderful creatures in the wild would be more rewarding than teaching them tricks and completely stripping them of all dignity .

ex trainers say they didn't know of any captive whale attacks so that tells me if you're daft enough to go into a pool with a wild creature without researching first then are you really capable of anything remotely responsible.

Has anyone heard whales cries when their young are taken away from them maybe the bosses at seaworld should perhaps see for themselves mind you unless there are dollars attached to any act of business I am not sure they would care.

thank you David Kirby and to the makers of Blackfish
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on 2 September 2014
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that the only reason that dolphins and whales are kept in captivity is because the money that is generated out of their exploitation. Orcas are charismatic and awe-inspiring animals that captivate all those who see them - this is why people go to places like SeaWorld. However, there is no place in a civilised society where other beings that have the same right as humans to live peacefully on this planet are systematically subject to abuse for the sake of entertainment.

I have been aware of the issues surrounding the captivity of whales and dolphins for some time before reading Mr Kirby's book. I ordered the book wanting to know more about the plight of these animals and the psychological strain it puts on them. I found the book somewhat disappointing for the following reasons:

1. There is a lot of supporting evidence to back up the premise that keeping dolphins and whales in captivity cannot be justified, but I feel the `thriller' style of the book compromises the message that needs to be heard. The book essentially uses sensationalism, shock and horror to awaken the public (but sometimes, we need that).

2. The book also spends too much time on Naomi Rose. Great swathes of the early part of the book is spent on the life and ruminations of Naomi Rose and I was left wondering what role does this woman play in this book other than being a token orca researcher. There is little mention of other pioneering scientists in the field of wild orca research. In addition, I came to dislike Dr Rose as my reading progressed. This is not a reflection of the individual, but Mr Kirby's representation of her. She came across as a sanctimonious, arrogant person.

3. There is no continuity in the book. The chapters jump around on different topics. One moment you're reading about the incidents at SeaWorld and the next you're reading about Dr Rose's personal struggles.

4. There appears to be a lot of `artistic licence' used in this book. For example, I find it hard to believe that former SeaWorld trainers and others would remember verbatim conversations that occurred more than a decade ago.

This book had so much promise, but for me, it has failed to deliver. Marine parks must be stopped and only hard science and public opinion will sway the legislators. Mr Kirby had the ammunition, but people who are not familiar with the research and the plight of orcas will only read the sensational bits and not grasp the bigger picture.

Notwithstanding my comments, the book is a valuable source of information and adds o the argument that these creatures must be released.
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on 14 January 2015
With the wide-spread recognition of the docufilm Blackfish and The Cove, this book goes into more of the scientific background and debate surrounding cetaceans in captivity. Vast research has been done with scientists, experts, eyewitnesses, and ex-marine park trainers to uncover the truth surrounding the multi-million pound industry that abuses these animals for financial gain. It exposes cover ups and shocking treatment and suffering that fuels the greed behind this industry. Sickening, heartbreaking, and a must-read. Read the real story of Shamu and others. No one has the right to inprison highly-intelligent wild animals in tanks the size of bath tubs. They require space and freedom and swim around 100 miles per day in the wild. They are highly social and require their family groups: just like humans, but often they are either isolated or kept with non-resident cetaceans who they are bullied and attacked by due to their hierarchical social structure. Subjected to too much stressful stimulus (sun/blaring music/people, etc),. They are controlled and coerced by withholding food in order to perform for "entertainment". They are masturbated for breeding purposes, have their teeth drilled to pulps which subjects them to infection. They bash their heads against concrete tanks or bars which to my mind is suicide. They would rather die than be subjected to the abuse they currently endure. The world needs to be educating on what these highly sentient animals are suffering. Thank you David Kirby for raising awareness.
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on 1 October 2013
the best book I have ever read, will read again and again. david Kirkby has done an amazing job on this book and together with the people in it are changing the face of the captivity industry!
the orca winnie holds a dear place in my heart as it was due to her that I became obsessed with orcas, I was so happy to see her mentioned in the book but at the same time so sad, this book will challenge you views on captivity what ever they may be before you read it. not only does it show the love trainers have for the orcas they work with but also the events that can and have ended trainers and whales lives.
David Kirkby well done sir and I intended to tell you this in a privet messege on facebook as well.
I would recommend this book to any and everyone!
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on 4 March 2014
5 stars for content, a must read for any person who has been involved in the captivity debate. While Blackfish touches on a lot of these issues there is a lot of additional information in here that you will want to know. The writing style is not for me, it jumps around a bit and is sometimes a little bit overly colloquial and occasionally you have the impression that some specific quotes were dumbed down a bit for effect (or I would hope so!), nevertheless, overall the message is very strong and it brings to light a number of things I was unaware off despite having been following the captivity debate for a long time. as mentioned by another reviewer, there is a lot about Naomi Rose in here which did not necessarily need to be included, while I would be interested in reading about Rose's research separately, this is not what the book set out to do so some of it could have been omitted.
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on 13 December 2014
A well written and heart wrenching story which just strengthened my feelings about marine mammals being kept in captivity, particularly the massive Orcas who should be left to swim the oceans of the world and not be kept in tanks, no matter if they are the size of Olympic swimming pools.

My heart goes out to the families of people who have been killed by the imprisoned marine mammals. They were acting with the best of intentions because they loved the creatures they were trying to take care of.

A very sad story and even more upsetting because the parks are still open and unfortunately still making a lot of money from this "business"!!!
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on 6 January 2014
I decided to read this book after watching Black Fish the documentary about orcas in captivity. As much as I enjoyed the documentary it didn't have enough science and hard evidence for me, and this is where the book done well. The book jumps about while telling the story from experts to ex-seaworld workers and past to present so if you don't enjoy that setup then you might find this a difficult read. It took me a while to get through it (and I'm a pretty quick reader) but I couldn't put it down. Also, easy to read in portions as each chapter reads like it's own story.
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on 25 October 2013
This is one of these books that you can't put down once you start reading it. Vividly describes the lives of the whales in the wild, their habits and closeness to their family. I also like the way the author describes the lives and work of marine scientists and the aquarium trainers and how being close with these beautiful creatures has affected their lives. You also get an insight into the manipulative ways of the likes of Sea World. Excellent read.
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on 19 August 2013
While you may enjoy Seaworld or any aquarium this book gives you valuable information about the life in large swimming pools that captive killer whales are subject to. Regardless of the rights and wrongs, should we really be keeping these animals in captivity any more, a whale that in the wild could swim over 100 km in a day is kept in a small pool in Orlando on his own, is it any wonder they go a bit offline. If you have any interest in the subject this is a good read, there is a little bit of repetition in the book but the stories of the killer whales and their trainers is a very interesting read.
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on 4 February 2015
Would like to know more the book ends quite short I felt but all in all well written and an eye opener. There needs to be more information on sea world's day to day logs of incidents and what medication they are pumping these poor whales with. Shame they couldn't get a whistle blower on board
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