I just finished watching Blackfish. I realize I’m behind as the movie came out in 2010, but it was brought to my attention on CNN’s site. This was hard to watch at times, and brought out much more emotion than I initially expected. I had no idea what I was in for. The purpose of the documentary is to inform individuals about how these animals are kept, transported, fed, trained, and so forth. As a result, a huge controversy with Sea World’s treatment of animals, and education of trainers has been raised.
As a young child I was ecstatic to go to Sea World with my brother, parents, and grand parents. Being from Ontario, the amount of marine life I had seen as a child was minimal. Seeing a killer whale? Up close and personal? Very exciting for any young child.
The animals seemed happy. When they do their tricks, interact with their trainers, the whales come off as gentile giants. SeaWorld is doing everything right, trusting in PR, and people leave there everyday happy, excited, and thrilled about what they’ve seen. It wasn’t until this documentary that the public saw a different side of things. Whales being separated from their mothers, whales in isolation, not moving for three hours at a time, exhibiting frustrated and aggressive behaviours, living less than half of their life span and so forth. If someone put me in a single bedroom for the remainder of my days and only rewarded me when I did a cartwheel or handstand, pretty sure I’d be frustrated and aggressive too.
I truly believe the trainers do love the whales. You could tell from the interviews with former trainers that they deeply care about them, and that is what drives them to become involved in the first place. It is tragic and heartbreaking that individuals have lost their lives while working with these animals. Especially since these trainers were/are trying to better the lives of the whales while being kept captive.
If you have not watched Blackfish I strongly recommend it. It is an eye opening film that sheds light on the dark side of captive whales.
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