Blackfish: My Thoughts

Last night I was able to watch the documentary Blackfish on CNN.  I first heard about it from Filmdrunk’s review of the film.  The film was very good.  It definitely makes you question things like SeaWorld and whether or not animals should be in captivity.

If you watched the Anderson Cooper Special Report after the documentary, you would have heard Jack Hanna doing his best presidential candidate debate impression.  Every question they would ask him about the film, he would just pivot to how great SeaWorld is and how many animals they save.  Unfortunately, no one is accusing SeaWorld of being evil.  The documentary just shows that killer whales in captivity are dangerous and maybe SeaWorld needs to reconsider their practice with that animal.

One of the main things people keep saying in support of SeaWorld is that these marine parks allow people to come out and see these animals.  Once they see them and fall in love with them, they want to help with the conservation.  I agree with this to a point.  Unfortunately, you can have people come see them, but do the killer whales and dolphins need to perform?

Since most of the killer whales at SeaWorld were not born in the wild (I believe most of them were bred from Tilikum’s semen), then it does not seem like it would be the worst thing to keep them at the park.  Hell, since they have never been out in the wild, there is a chance that they may have troubles surviving out there.  If a killer whale is born at SeaWorld, spends 25 years there, then is released into the wild, what would happen?  Be an interesting experiment.

Unfortunately, does that mean that anything we learn about their behavior is actually valid to wild killer whales?  They mention multiple times how captive killer whales do not live as long as wild ones.  It would also seem to make sense that they might exhibit different behaviors.

I definitely think that these animals are too dangerous to have trainers in the water with them.  In the film, you see the one trainer being pulled to the bottom of the pool and then brought back up.  The killer whale knew how long the guy could hold his breath and then would bring him up to the surface.  As soon as the guy was able to take a deep breath, the orca would drag him back down.

I feel like these animals are just biding their time while in captivity.  They hate being forced to perform tricks and they just wait for a moment when they can attack a trainer.  They are smart enough to know that they need to make it look like an accident.  They also seem to attack because they want to prove a point:  that point is that they can end your life anytime they want.  Obviously, I have no proof of this, it is just what the different attack videos seem to present to me.  I am not an orca expert.

So here is my proposal, SeaWorld can keep their killer whales.  They do not need to perform tricks though.  People can come and see them, there will be no trainers swimming with them.  Instead, you can see them doing whatever the hell they want to do.  Enjoy that you can see them up close.  No one makes the tigers perform a song and dance at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Also, on a side note, please make a documentary about this guy.  He said that he was involved with overthrowing governments in South America and that capturing killer whales in Iceland was the worst thing he had ever done.  Tell me that guy would not be fun to sit and talk to at a bar.

Also, if you have not see the documentary, I highly recommend watching it.  Just watch this trailer for it.