Jack Hanna Compares Whale Trainers to Astronauts on King

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Larry King hosted a brief but impassioned "killer whale roundtable" tonight on Larry King Live, and things got a little heated! Zookeeper Jack Hanna, longtime animal-rights supporter Bob Barker, and PETA co-founder and president Ingrid Newkirk all weighed in on yesterday’s death of a SeaWorld trainer caused by a killer whale, who it turns out was responsible for two prior human deaths.

While Newkirk was on the attack, saying she hopes SeaWorld gets sued for the killing, as she believes the park is motivated by profit and “has helped kill these trainers," Hanna pulled out that ol’ Whale Trainers Are Just Like ... Astronauts defense to explain why the (whale) show must go on.

"Larry, didn't our astronauts go up in the space shuttle and we lost them when they came back? It was a terrible thing. They went back up in space, didn't they? We want to learn from space and help mankind. That's what SeaWorld does. These are dangerous animals. This young lady sacrificed her life and would be sitting here today saying she'd do it again for the great work she's done and SeaWorld has done to educate tens of millions of people over the last years."