For the general public, the announcement that SeaWorld was ending its orca breeding program may have come as a surprise. But for the thousands of people in San Diego and elsewhere who have considered the company’s treatment of orcas inhumane, the changes are the culmination of years of protests, petitions, calls for boycotts and other activities.

SeaWorld’s full-fledged assault on a former trainer is just the latest move in what’s been a long, strange series of responses to the critical documentary “Blackfish.” Since the film’s debut, SeaWorld has boomeranged between writing the film off and aggressively countering its claims.