John Hargrove had a 14-year animal training career where he trained and swam with orcas at SeaWorld of California and SeaWorld of Texas, where he was promoted to the highest ranking Senior Trainer at Shamu Stadium. He was also a Supervisor of the killer whale training program at Marineland in the south of France. After returning to SeaWorld, he resigned his position in August 2012.
Following his resignation, John was featured in the Sundance selected documentary Blackfish. Following the success of the movie, he co-sponsored the Orca Welfare and Safety Act proposed by California Assemblyman Richard Bloom. At the New York State Capitol, he spoke in support State Senator Greg Ball’s “Blackfish Bill”, which, like the legislation in California, seeks to stop the practice of enslaving orcas for entertainment and ban breeding and forced artificial insemination.
John works in Europe with the Born Free Foundation and the World Cetacean Alliance. In July 2015 Hargrove returned to the south of France to support the growing public demand for an end to keeping marine mammals in captivity at Marineland in Antibes where he was a former orca supervisor.
His book Beneath the Surface, which became a New York Times bestseller, provides an insight into his career as a killer whale trainer and the battle that is now playing out to end the highly lucrative business of forcing killer whales into captivity.
John speaks at various universities and was the government’s expert witness for OSHA in its lawsuit against the Miami Seaquarium.