Blackfish

Dogwoof_Documentary_Blackfish_Quad_New_1600_1200_85When my daughter was three years old, I took her to Seaworld in San Antonio.  We were both mesmerized by Shamu, the Orca whale, who we saw perform in an incredible show.  I cried throughout because I couldn't believe how beautiful the relationship was between the trainers and the whales. It was one of the most stunning things I had ever seen.

I look back on that now and wonder how I could have been so niave. A polished show with amazing music and incredible stunts hid a very dark secret that has now been exposed in the new film Blackfish.   It wasn't until a year later after researching about whales and dolphins in captivity that I realized I had been just another clueless patron moved by an amazing performance.

There is overwhelming evidence that keeping animals such as whales and dolphins in captivity for human enjoyment is psychologically and physically damaging for them.  Sure it brings them closer to us and allows us to learn more about them both for our own education and for behavioral research but at great expense to their well being.  Keeping an Orca whale or a dolphin in a Seaworld pool is akin to keeping it in a bathtub for the whole of its life and that goes for dolphins and manatees in other aquariums in the USA and around the world.

Blackfish has been a long time coming. Trainers have been killed working with these animals, but this hasn't stopped Seaworld and places like it from breeding future "stars" from the same whale that has killed.  It is a shameful industry and profits from the confined torment of these sentient beings.orca_seaworld-380

There needs to be change but as happens too often, money trumps common sense, kindness and decency.  Until audience numbers start dropping as the consumer becomes aware of the abject cruelty of having whales and the like in captivity, then the industry will continue to profit from their torment.  Seaworld and places like it might be a great fun day out for the family but when people go home at the end of the day, the animals are left in their tiny bath tubs until the next time they have to perform.

Should we be keeping killer whales and dolphins in captivity for our own enjoyment? Watch Blackfish and see for yourself.

 



6 Comments

  1. Susan Peter-Thompson

    October 28th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I have opposed the practice of keeping orcas in captivity for over 24 years now. My opposition was based on a 1989 incident at Sea World San Diego, in which 2 orcas got into a fight during a performance. It resulted in one of the whales bleeding to death from a lacerated artery in its head. They showed video of the altercation on the evening news. That made me stop and think about what we are doing to these creatures, and I came to the conclusion that taking an animal that was meant to roam the open ocean and keeping it in such a confined space is nothing short of cruelty. The practice needs to be banned outright. I did watcj the movie, and came to the unfortunate conclusion that the situation is actually far worse than I had believed.

  2. Luisa

    October 28th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    It is very sad for us (people) to slave theses creatures and the rest of the wild animals in captivity. Los angeles ban the bullhook in all the elephants circus just recently . I know the trainers will find a way to go around the law and still inflict pain to this poor animals. And while we are on this discussion what about the police K-9 dogs ? they are being trained too in a very harsh way. I dont know what to think about us anymore. We pollute our planets and instead of taking care of the other creatures (which is our first job anyway if you read the bible) we are making them slaves and extinct.

  3. Cheryl Noble

    October 28th, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I to am guilty of attending one of these shows which also brought me to tears with the magnificent Orcas. I was thrilled to be up close and personal with these animals. If I had known then what I do now, the tears would have been from sadness for what the poor animals have to endure. I"m all for the open sea-pens for the animals that can't be released do to human intervention on their natural habitat and capturing them. At least then they could roam more freely and behave more like an Orca should. My sincere apologies to the animals that I took such pleasure watching perform. I really did think you were enjoying yourself.

  4. Gloria Cooke

    November 10th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I was as naive as you and took my children to SeaWorld as well, not knowing that the price of our tickets was perpetuating this atrocity! After viewing Blackfish, I will never again make that mistake. It breaks my heart!

  5. Michael Baugh CDBC, CPDT-KSA

    December 23rd, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you so much for taking a public position on this very important topic. I would also highly recommend the book "Death at SeaWorld by David Kirby.



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