Call it The Fast and the Furious meets Blackfish. If you’re at a protest with Jan Pettifor, you can’t miss her. Jan is a sports car enthusiast who quickly figured out how to use her passion to help animals. She decked out her cars—a Dodge Viper, a Lamborghini Murciélago SV, and a Lamborghini Diablo VT (enough to make any motorhead drool!)—with a pretty compelling message: End marine-mammal captivity!
Jan also converted a Crown Victoria formerly used by the police force into “The Orcamobile.”
Jan has driven her four-wheeled orca freedom mobiles to the March on Marineland in Niagara, Ontario; the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago; and the Miami Seaquarium in Miami, Florida. But SeaWorld Orlando, near her home in Florida, can expect to see Jan and her cars outside its front gate almost every weekend. She circles the block, driving slowly enough to allow everyone who makes the turn down SeaWorld Drive to read the messages printed on the front, back, and sides of her vehicles. Jan calls SeaWorld “SlaveWorld” and “SeaPrison,” and her auto activism will be part of the history of its demise.
The response has been terrific. From the tollbooth operator who told her that he had watched Blackfish and it had changed the way that he viewed SeaWorld to the group of girls in a restaurant who spotted one of Jan’s cars in the parking lot and immediately turned the conversation to orcas in captivity, the cars turn heads and start conversations wherever they go.
“On the road trip to Canada in the Orcamobile, I lost count of how many people passing me on the road took photos of the car, waved and gave me the thumbs up,” Jan said. “At hotels and gas stations, people come up to ask me about the whale on the roof and [to say] how they cannot believe the whale circus is still in existence. One couple followed me into a rest area in Kentucky and offered to give me gas money for the Orcamobile as they admired what I was doing. The guy then showed me his Sea Shepherd tattoo. Everywhere I have travelled there has been a positive reaction.”
Once, a car pulled up next to her Lamborghini at a red light and asked if she was the director of Blackfish. Says Jan, “My car seems to be known as ‘the Blackfish car‘ now.”
And Jan seems to be known as “the Blackfish car lady” now, a moniker she’s happy to accept. “[T]rying to bring an end to the madness of keeping huge, sentient, intelligent whales [in captivity] is so worthwhile to me. It is very important that this cruelty ends.”
And it will. Animal advocates like Jan are making sure of it.
Written by Michelle Kretzer