Dr. Lucy Jones
Play • 37 min

Ron hires a new co-host.


Host, Writer, and Executive Producer: Ron Burgundy

Co-host, Writer and Producer: Carolina Barlow

Producer: Nick Stumpf

Talent Producer: Anna Hossnieh

Writers: Andrew Steele and Jake Fogelnest

Engineered, Mixed and Edited by Nick Stumpf

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Chatting with Candice
Chatting with Candice
Candice Horbacz
#32 Phil Demers- Saving Smooshi
*Chatting with Candice* *Phil Demers* *Episode Run Time: 01:32:01* Phil Demers is a former animal trainer turned activist. He has garnered international attention for his unique bond with a captive walrus named Smooshi. Phil’s story is featured in the 2020 documentary The Walrus and The Whistleblower.  In this episode, I talk to Phil about his experience at Marineland, the future of animal captivity, and the Saving Smooshi campaign.  [00:01:27] Phil as a Public Persona: Using Social Media and Facing Criticism   [00:08:40] From Animal Trainer to Whistleblower  [00:15:29] Caring for Animals VS Using Animals for Profit   [00:20:48] Phil and Smooshi’s Imprinting Moment  [00:22:03] Taking Time off from Marineland  [00:27:33] How to Create Sustaining Change  [00:33:10] Marineland’s Lawsuit and the Anti-SLAPP Legislation   [00:36:54] The Cost of Acquiring a Walrus  [00:38:38] Society’s Collective Movement Against Animal Captivity    [00:49:32] Changing Canada’s Captivity Laws   [00:54:38] Why Marineland Won’t Hand Over Smooshi  [00:59:07] Phil’s Advice to Aspiring Activists    [01:03:46] Looking Back at Phil’s Journey  [01:09:10] Psilocybin Mushrooms as Legal Medication  [01:21:56] Can Animals in Captivity Thrive?  [01:26:34] Current Status of Phil’s Legal Battle with Marineland In 2000, Phil started working at Marineland. He applied for a job after seeing a newspaper ad. At the time, he thought it was a good opportunity to work at such a popular establishment. As a newcomer, he noticed that the animal’s living conditions were not ideal but did not speak up about it for lack of knowledge. Over time, Phil was given more responsibility and had become an expert marine mammal trainer.  As Phil rose through the ranks, he realized that the management was primarily concerned about profit rather than the animals’ well-being. He claimed that the unkempt facilities posed health hazards to the animals. Unfortunately, his complaints only fell on deaf ears. In 2012, he decided to leave Marineland. Since then, Phil’s stance on animal captivity has been clear: the whole practice of it needs to stop. It has been well recorded that captured animals have a lower quality of life.  For the longest time, big corporations like Marineland have controlled the narrative. But with the help of social media, more activists are emboldened to speak up against injustice and abuse. Consumers have the power to change things. By purchasing or boycotting certain products and services, we are choosing which messages to support. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye opener for a lot of people. Now that humans know what it’s like to feel locked up, they have more empathy for captive creatures. It’s only a matter of time before society’s collective consciousness totally rejects the practice of caging animals for profit and entertainment.  Follow Phil Demers on Twitter and Instagram. Help support the Save Smooshi campaign through donations or merchandise. Support the show (http://patreon.com/candicehorbacz)
1 hr 32 min
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