Alex Blount, PETA Tour Administrator: “I, Orca”

Alex Blount, PETA Tour Administrator—in this case, the tour in question is PETA’s “I, Orca” empathy project, which involves using Google virtual reality goggles to immerse participants in a world where they can swim freely in the ocean with their orca family—recounts what drew him to working for PETA. FullSizeRender-2He notes that touring with “I, Orca” represents his first job at PETA, having started working for the organization only weeks before. Blount explains how “I, Orca” was conceived, how its intent was formulated, and to what extent the project was meant to consolidate and underscore the impact generated by “Blackfish” and “Beneath The Surface,” the recent book by former SeaWorld orca trainer John Hargrove. We air portions of the audio from “I, Orca” and discuss them, including my observation that—given that it’s been decades since Winter+TCA+Tour+Day+6+88LIQo71vnalSeaWorld took orcas from the wild—the portion featuring The Sopranos/Nurse Jackie star Edie Falco voicing the mother of an orca calf seized from her and taken to SeaWorld felt a bit artificial, bordering on disingenuous. To which Blount points out that at least two current SeaWorld killer whales—Corky and the infamous IORCAlogoTilikum—were captured from the wild. About halfway through the tour, designed to travel to cities near the three SeaWorld parks and other locales, Blount describes the reactions from the “I, Orca” participants thus far, almost uniformly positive regardless of their familiarity with captive orca issues.(,

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Kimber Sobeck, a dog trainer who created “The Black Dog Program,” by which black dogs—traditionally, the animals most overlooked for adoption from shelters and other facilities—are outfitted with brightly-colored so-called “Comfys” (robes made from beach towels) and other accouterments that make them more appealing, easier to photograph, etc, enhancing their prospects of adoption. Other key elements of Sobeck’s program include a certified trainer assessing the black dog’s temperament. (

COMEDY CORNER: Brian Regan’s “Whale Noises” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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