"When I attended a protest at SeaWorld on October 26 I remarked to a friend how many approving hoots and honks and thumbs up we get now, compared to years ago when we constantly heard ‘Get a life!' or ‘We love Shamu' and the ever-popular ‘Communists!'" she recalled. "Really, that was a common insult hurled at us in early days - and, of course, the middle-finger salute. You rarely see that anymore, almost never."
Cartmill said the biggest change has been since the release of the film "The Cove," which revealed the atrocities of the dolphin slaughter in Taiji and the links to the captivity industry.
"Then after 'Blackfish' the cheers for the demonstrators accelerated even more," she said. "Back in 1984 people simply didn't know or understand what went on behind the scenes. Now many people do."
Cartmill credits two factors with increased turnout for protests: CNN's decision to broadcast Blackfish repeatedly, and social media, especially Twitter and Facebook.
"In the old days I would get on the phone and send a mailing out weeks in advance," she said. "Now they can get a demonstration going the same day. I was at a protest last Sunday at SeaWorld and there was a gal in her early twenties and we mentioned how long we had been protesting. She was astonished to hear we had been doing it for 30 years."