Dolphin trainer Ashley Guidry loved her job and the animals she worked with—in particular, a dolphin calf named Chopper. But years of seeing how business was done behind the scenes at a small marine park made her come to the painful conclusion that she had to walk away from it all.
Animal care workers, who tend to the health of mammals at SeaWorld and other marine parks, have unrivaled access to the animals—and the challenges of captivity. They are on the front lines of the debate over marine mammals in captivity, and their stories are fascinating and deeply troubling. Here, three former employees go on the record about their experiences.