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David Kirby
David Kirby, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post since 2005 and TakePart since 2012, has been a professional journalist for nearly 30 years, and was a contracted writer for The New York Times for four years. He has written for several national magazines and was a correspondent in Mexico and Central America from 1986-1990. He is also author of 'Evidence of Harm,' a New York Times bestseller, winner of the 2005 Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) award for best book, and finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, 'Animal Factory,' a highly acclaimed investigation into the environmental impact of factory farms, and 'Death at SeaWorld, Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity,' which “tells the story like a thriller,” the Wall Street Journal said in a rave review. He is also an experienced writing and media coach. More information is at and

Entries by David Kirby

Forbes Blogger Resigns Over SeaWorld Dispute

(7) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 1:44 PM

Last week, journalist James McWilliams posted a brief, stinging, eloquent blog at about how the low-budget film "Blackfish" is taking on a multi-billion dollar company, and may be winning. The piece won him few friends among editors at the website, who told him to alter it to include favorable...

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The College Entry Essay: Tips from Admissions Officers at Leading Schools

(4) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 11:34 AM

Across the country, parents and high school seniors are in the middle of the daunting college application process, especially the much-feared, often misunderstood personal essay portion. How important is the essay section? Enough to potentially make the difference between getting into the school of your choice, or landing on the...

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Why SeaWorld's Cuts in Staff Hours Is No Suprise To Me

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 3:33 PM

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. is cutting hours for 18,000 part-time and seasonal workers, in a move that will allow it to skirt provisions of the new Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and save millions from not providing healthcare coverage to those employees at 11 parks around the country. As the author...

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Is This NYC's Next Mayor? Interview With Bill de Blasio

(2) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 4:02 PM

In all likelihood, Bill de Blasio will be NYC's next mayor, and the first Democrat to win that office in nearly a quarter-century. The latest poll shows de Blasio surging, with 43% of the vote, just above the 40% needed to avoid a Democratic runoff. His next closest...

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SeaWorld Suffers Legal Setback in Fight Against OSHA

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 9:40 PM

Even as SeaWorld and OSHA engage in settlement talks over the 2010 death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau, the company has suffered a legal setback in its fight to keep OSHA inspectors from interviewing trainers about federally mandated safety measures before the mediation process concludes.

U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton...

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Baby Orca Born Into Troubled 'Family' At SeaWorld

(1) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 2:56 PM

SeaWorld San Diego is celebrating the birth of a killer whale on this Valentine's Day backstage at Shamu Stadium. But not everyone is delighted with the news.

Anti-captivity activists say the newborn has a hard life ahead in a grotesquely unnatural world.

The calf was delivered early...

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Vaccine Court Awards Millions to Two Children With Autism

(1342) Comments | Posted January 14, 2013 | 8:43 AM

The federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, better known as "vaccine court," has just awarded millions of dollars to two children with autism for "pain and suffering" and lifelong care of their injuries, which together could cost tens of millions of dollars.

The government did not admit that vaccines caused autism,...

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SHAMU FOR SALE -- Should You Invest in Captivity?

(9) Comments | Posted December 31, 2012 | 7:41 AM

SeaWorld Entertainment and its parent company The Blackstone Group just made headlines with a much-anticipated announcement of a $100 million initial public offering. And though acquiring shares in Shamu may sound like a glamorous and profitable proposition, investors should carefully consider what, exactly, their hard-earned dollars are buying.

SeaWorld is...

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Mercury, Vaccines Hot Topics at Autism Hearing

(259) Comments | Posted December 6, 2012 | 3:17 PM

You probably didn't know it, but Congress recently held a major hearing on the government's response to autism, grilling two key federal officials on everything from prevalence studies to services for adults with the disorder.

But much of the nearly four-hour hearing was focused on the causes of...

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SeaWorld Putting Orca Trainers Back in the Water

(7) Comments | Posted July 30, 2012 | 8:59 PM

For the first time in nearly two-and-a-half years since the 12,000-pound orca Tilikum brutally killed his trainer Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando, the company is now allowing certain trainers to reenter the water with its captive killer whales, at least for veterinary and animal husbandry purposes.

The news was first...

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Near Death At SeaWorld: Worldwide Exclusive Video

(556) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 9:31 AM

The following video was presented at trial in SeaWorld v US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in the death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau. Judge Ken Welsch, who ruled largely against the company, called the video "chilling."

The video depicts the November, 2006 aggression incident by the female orca Kasatka...

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SeaWorld Appeal Fails in Orca Trainer Death

(2) Comments | Posted July 18, 2012 | 11:06 AM

SeaWorld has lost its attempt to appeal a scathing May 31 verdict from a federal law judge before the three-member Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC).

It is the third major legal defeat in a row for the marine mammal entertainment park in the death of Dawn...

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Is Shamu a Republican?

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 3:39 PM

  • CEO of SeaWorld's Parent Company Backs Mitt Romney

  • Marine Entertainment Park Sues Obama Administration

  • NEW POLL: Republicans Far More Likely To Support Orca Captivity Than Democrats

There are close ties between the entertainment parks' owner, venture capital firm The Blackstone Group, and Mitt Romney's campaign. Blackstone's co-founder and...

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NEW POLL: Only 1-in-4 Americans Support Orca Captivity

(6) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 12:21 PM

  • Plurality Is Opposed to the Practice

  • 4 in 5 Agree That Shorter Lifespan Is a Convincing Reason to End Captivity

  • Ending Orca Shows Would Not Affect Marine Park Attendance

A new poll just out this morning, the first-ever survey of US public opinion on...

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Big Week Looms Ahead for SeaWorld

(1) Comments | Posted July 11, 2012 | 2:19 PM

■ Company's appeal in trainer's death could be accepted or rejected by Monday
■ OSHA will likely try to reinstate its "willful" violation against the park
■Groundbreaking poll on Monday to measure public attitudes toward orca captivity
Death at SeaWorld, an investigative thriller, hits bookstores on...

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SeaWorld Appeals Verdict in Trainer's Death, Reopens Pool Where Killing Occurred

(9) Comments | Posted July 10, 2012 | 1:38 PM

SeaWorld has filed an appeal to challenge parts of a federal judge's ruling which refused to overturn an OSHA violation in the death of Orlando orca trainer Dawn Brancheau. SeaWorld will also try to void government-mandated safety measures that could mean a permanent ban on having trainers...

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Marion Cotillard, Fierce Opponent of Orca Captivity, Menaced By Killer Whale on Film Set

(0) Comments | Posted July 8, 2012 | 6:40 PM

French actress Marion Cotillard, who won the Best Actress Oscar for La Vie en Rose and will soon be seen in the summertime blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises, is speaking out about an incident she experienced with a killer whale while filming on the set...

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Time to Phase Out the Shamu Shows

(1) Comments | Posted June 15, 2012 | 10:07 AM

The debate over human trainers performing in the water with killer whales, the ocean's top predator, has reentered the national dialogue now that a judge handed down a harsh rebuke to SeaWorld after it sought to overturn a safety violation in the 2010 death of Orlando employee Dawn Brancheau.


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Labor Department Fires Warning Shot At Animal Entertainment Industry

(8) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 9:19 AM

Following last week's landmark ruling against SeaWorld in the death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau, the Obama Administration has put the entire animal entertainment industry on notice: Step-up safety measures for employees or face stiff legal and monetary sanctions.

The decision...

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Federal Judge Blasts SeaWorld in Death of Orca Trainer

(10) Comments | Posted May 31, 2012 | 8:19 AM

SeaWorld has lost its legal battle to overturn a federal safety violation in the 2010 death of Orlando orca trainer Dawn Brancheau, and was roundly defeated in its attempt to vacate OSHA-mandated measures to protect the safety of trainers working with the ocean's deadliest predator.

Administrative law judge...

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