99.9% of wording courtesy of my co-worker and friend.
The hypocrisy of people against SeaWorld is infuriating. I am going to start by saying I 100% support our military, their use of animals, and the bond between all animals and people. This is not a criticism of the story in this movie, but an example of hypocrisy. The woman behind this movie (Gabriela Cowperthwaite) is the same woman behind Blackfish. So, she is OK with training dogs to enter situations where they can be shot or blown up, but she’s not OK with training killer whales and other marine mammals to educate the public and inspire them to care about the planet? (By the way, the military also uses dolphins.) This director believes in the extraordinary bond between these dogs and soldiers but not between other animals and people!? (She did all she could to belittle and minimize the importance and even existence of the the bond between the trainers and whales in Blackfish.) Smells just like that cancerous website, The Dodo. The Dodo is run (with Daddy’s money) by a woman named Izzie Lerer. She happens to be an avid equestrian. She keeps horses in stalls and rides them for her enjoyment and entertainment, yet one of her biggest focuses is spreading negative propaganda against SeaWorld for…using animals for entertainment. Both women use manipulation and sensationalism to further their careers and business despite condoning and sharing stories, and participating in activities, that share the same fundamental principles.
Kasatka is DEAD. I tried my hardest to get the media to expose it and force SeaWorld to let the media take pictures of her and what was happening to her. I urged for an independent lab to be able to take the tests-although SeaWorld would never allow that, and for a reason- I loved her and I am so sorry that for so many years a bought into all the BS and thought that THIS was ok. I look so happy in this pic and I remember this moment. If I only had realized then what was happening and how it would all end for all of them. It makes me sick to my stomach I ever supported the cruelty that captivity is. I was naive. I thought since we loved them it made it right, that it made it all ok. Then too many lies and too many cover-ups, too many deaths both the whales and trainers happened and it just all died for me. Now my responsibility is to use all my experience to expose this industry until they too are dead. And SeaWorld knows the things I have exposed are only the tip of the iceberg. What I know will stop them for good. I’m sorry Kasatka.
The thing about John Hargrove is that he loves public attention, and therefore “knows the things I have exposed are only the tip of the iceberg” is nothing more but “I could expose everything all at once but then I wouldn’t get enough attention so I expose everything in parts whenever anything bad comes out just so that I get enough attention”.
For those who don’t want to read, and want a short-short version, here’s some of the main claims:
1. Of the 8 trainers shown, one had zero
experience with killer whales, the one included the most had only one
year’s experience, and the most experienced trainer is pro-SeaWorld but
made to look like an idiot. Several were either fired because of
reckless behavior, violence towards animals or demoted from Shamu
Stadium. 2. Becoming a trainer is not as easy as they make it seem. 3. SeaWorld had nothing to do with the Penn Cove capture that was talked about. 4. There is nothing proving that whales can be under a “psychosis”, and even less, that Tilikum was. 5. Tilikum was not the instigator/leader in killing Keltie. 6. Killer whales have attacked and injured people in the wild. 7. They do not live “50-100 years or more” on average. They do not live “similar to human lifespans”. 8. Whales do not have higher intelligence or higher ability to feel emotions than humans. 9. Tilikum was not isolated. 10. Kalina and Takara were not the tiny newborns shown in the clips, when they were moved. 11. Katina and Kasatka were not
“screaming” (whales can’t even scream) when their daughters were moved.
The whole scene with “a scientist brought in to analyze the vocals” was
completely made up by a man who didn’t even work there at the time. 12. Dorsal collapse does not happen at “less than 1%” in the wild. 13. SeaWorld’s whales are not a “random collection of whales” that have been “thrown together and don’t understand each other”. 14. Rakes are not a sign of “hyper-aggression”. It is completely normal behavior in all toothed whales. 15. There has never been “a lot of killing” - not a single whale has been killed by another whale in captivity. 16. They do not swim “100 miles every day” in the wild. 17. Tilikum is not used as a “breeding machine”, and artificial insemination is not used to “get his sperm into as many females as possible across their parks” - he only ever sired two calves through AI. 18. SeaWorld did not blame Dawn - Blackfish however, clearly did. 19. Tilikum was not
killing because he’s “frustrated and psychotic” - he killed because
he’s a top predator who, unlike all the other whales, wasn’t trained to
have humans in the water with him at an early age. 20.
Blackfish doesn’t know themselves what image they’re trying to portray.
First they say killer whales are naturally “incredibly friendly and
intuitively want to be your companion”, showing the clip of a lost calf
who only had humans for company (and thus acted like no wild whale would
naturally), then they say SeaWorld is lying and trying to make money
off of this “image of killer whales as cute and cuddly”. 21. And also, A) they say Tilikum is “nuts” because of his treatment at Sealand and SeaWorld, then B) they say it’s his genes, he should never be bred from, then C) they say it’s not all Tilikum, all killer whales are ticking time bombs! 22. Tilikum was not “floating lifeless in a pool”, and he was not lonely or isolated. He wa not confined to a “little jail cell”. 23. The whales are not “really bored”, they’re not
“forced to perform” in “a circus environment”, and a seapen wouldn’t
solve a thing, it’s a romantic idea that in reality would only create
And here’s everything that’s true in Blackfish
(but I strongly urge EVERYONE to read the circumstances of these points
below, rather than just grabbing and running with it):
1. The captures happened (duh). 2. Tilikum came from the North Atlantic in 1983. 3. Tilikum went to Sealand of the Pacific in Canada. 4. The module was real, and as far as I know (I’ve seen nothing contradicting this), the food deprivation (at Sealand) and females bullying him was as well. 5. The whales killed trainer Keltie Byrne. 6. Killer whales have a “matriarchal society”. 7. Sealand closed after that incident, and Tilikum and the other whales (Haida 2, Nootka 4 and Kyuquot) were sold to SeaWorld. 8. Kalina was moved from her mother at the age of 4. 9. Takara was moved from her mother (but she was nowhere near a calf). 10. 100% of adult males (so far) have had collapsed dorsal fins. 11. Kandu 5 broke her upper jaw and bled to death. 12. John Sillick was crushed under Orky 2 (whose name is not mentioned). 13. Orkid and Splash pulled Tamarie in and broke her arm. 14. Kasatka pulled Ken Peters under - I shouldn’t even have to write this, the footage is right there. 15. Daniel Dukes was found dead in Tilikum’s pool one morning, with bite marks all over him and genitals eaten. 16. Four young orcas were sent over (not sold, as some like to say) to Loro Parque. 17. Keto (whose name is not mentioned) killed Alexis Martinez at Loro Parque. 18. Tilikum pulled Dawn in and caused her death. 19. SeaWorld declined participating in the film (if you were SeaWorld, would you have said yes?).
Every time I see people posting pictures of trainers hugging whale necks like it means something, this is what comes to mind. We don’t know what the animals are thinking. It could be many things. Out of some of the possible available options, why assume mutual affection? That’s almost nonsensical.
Why are positive inferences of captive whale behavior considered more likely than the negative ones? They shouldn’t be. The fact that they’re overwhelmingly presented that way is confirmation bias in action.
I’m sure there are limited positives in with the negatives. Else we’d have dismembered trainers and uncooperative whales far more often. But compliance via conditioning and lack of options isn’t “choice”, and isn’t indicative of happiness, quality of life, or anything along those lines. The sooner people stop pretending that it is, the better.
“The orca, which suffered a bacterial lung infection, had been kept for 25 years by SeaWorld, an American theme park company. ”
Tilikum’s tragic life story, as featured in the documentary Blackfish, inspired millions to change their attitudes regarding the ethics and dangers of keeping marine mammals in captivity. His legacy continues to change business models at public aquariums and marine parks, and personal mindsets alike.
It’s a shame he went out like this; a once gentle and regal animal driven to violent psychosis in his abuse, and wasting away from chronic illness and sustained isolation from other whales and trainers.
When I was 10, I went to SeaWorld. I loved everything about it. So beautiful and magical. And the animals were phenomenal. But one animal in particular caught my attention .. Tilikum. The giant who splashed everyone. I loved him. And a certain trainer who asked me if I had any questions but I was too shy to respond. She was so nice and considerate. She said her name was Dawn and she’d hope to see me there again soon. They both held a very special place in my heart after I returned home.
A mere two months after the trip, I heard on the TV that there was a accident in the SeaWorld I visited. And when I heard the names “Tilikum” and “Dawn” .. I was heartbroken. February 24th, 2010. Tilikum pulled Dawn down by the hair or the leg, depending on which story you believe, down to the bottom of the tank and drowned her. My role model was killed by the very animal I wanted to work with when I grew up. I was distraught.
6 years later, I’m a 17 year old animal rights activist. Who openly detests captivity and fights for all animals freedom. But I admit, I hold one animal at a higher regard than the others .. Tilikum. The 32 year old giant still lives in SawWorld. After killing 3 people in his lifetime. They haven’t once considered the possibility that he’s too mentally unstable to work with anymore and refuse to put him in a seaside rehabilitation center because he is the best breeder and the most successful Orca in captivity. Everyone wants to see the poor murderer. My goal in life is to contribute my heart and soul into the release of Tilikum from his concrete prison. And to keep Dawn Bradcheau’s name alive.
The reason I posted this is to spread awareness. Dawn’s death didn’t deserve to be lied about by the very company who was supposed to protect her and keep her alive in the first place. And Tilikum wasn’t supposed to be captured at the age of 2, watch his mother die, and be shipped from cage to cage to preform for scraps. All of it is sick and twisted. Agree with me or not. It’s sick.
I always hate to hear of an animals’s death, but in the case of Tilikum it must define the term “merciful release.” I’ve also been thinking about Dawn Brancheau, the SeaWorld trainer he killed, and her family’s pained defensiveness at criticism of SeaWorld because Dawn loved the whales and would never have participated in harming them.
Here’s the thing: I love animals very much, and I can think of dozens of times I’ve treated my adored pets inappropriately, because I didn’t know better or had outdated information or didn’t think of the right reaction in a particular circumstance. Some of it I forgive myself for and move on, some of it I use to try and be better, some of it I can only apologize for in retrospect. Overall, though, I have given my pets pretty good lives.
My pets have always been domestic animals. I’ve dealt with them in their natural environments. Sometimes my management could use work, but their natural environment is, for the most part, my house. That’s where they belong.
Killer whales are not domestic animals. I’m prepared to concede that Blackfish and the book that inspired it, Death At SeaWorld, had agendas (agendas I agree with, incidentally) but if even a fraction of what’s said there is true it’s very hard to escape the conclusion that SeaWorld trainers end up knowing a whole lot about operant conditioning and almost nothing about normal (ie wild) killer whale behaviour. The trainers, including Brancheau, would have done their best to give the whales good quality of life, but it’s only human to let yourself think the animals you love also love you back, and not think about the fact these animals are being held in what amounts to a prison camp, and you’re the equivalent of their warder.
The folks who lived and worked with these whales probably thought they knew them intimately, but you can’t get away from the fact we’re alien creatures holding them prisoner in an environment we created, imposed upon them, and control. The whales who survive have done so because life is persistent, but human prisoners who have survived extensive periods of solitary confinement would probably not consider they had excellent quality of life during that period.
Also, consider the current thinking about dominance-based training theory for dogs. That’s pretty much out of favour now, right? It was based on the idea that dogs and wolves are identical (they’re not) and on studies on captive wolves. The researchers involved have now recognized that captive wolves’ behaviour reflects their unnatural environment, and those studies are not generalizable to wolves living in normal (ie wild) circumstances. Or to dogs living in normal environments (ie our living rooms.) Dogs are, like, the most successful domestic species ever, a species we know a ton about, and we can still get it wrong.
Mind you, in all the time those theories were in ascendance, a lot of dogs still lived really happy enriching lives, because their humans paid attention to them as individuals in their natural habitats (ie, in close contact with humans.)
Since humans are self-centred I am going to go back to myself. I’m planning to get a dog, have picked out a breed and am in touch with a breeder. The breed I chose represents a decision to become involved in dog sports and to push myself back to the level of activity I had when my horse was alive.
Suppose I got this active new dog, loved him very much, and kept him in a crate for the rest of his life except for brief play and training periods in the bathroom? (I have a small bathroom.) Would that be appropriate? Of course not! I would expect the nice breeder to come knocking on my door if she ever heard of it. The fact I loved the dog dearly would not make one bit of difference to the overall unhappiness of his life.
SeaWorld is currently saying a lot of things about dear Tilikum and the emotions they felt about him and feel about their other captive whales. If the whales could speak in a language we understand, I am pretty sure what they would say to us wouldn’t be anything we’d be happy to hear.
‘we both work as dolphin/whale trainers and we are partners that really adore the animals and secretly eachother’ au
'we work at Disney as characters that are from different storys and the kids ship us together even though are characters have other love interests/have never met but we have too much chemistry when we interact (bc we are actually secretly dating) and the kids love it oops’ au
tourist/traveler x guide (AFRICAN SAFFARI) au
'I was an orphan adopted by a queen and now I live in royalty where you are my bodyguard and I have no idea what im doing heLP WHICH FORK IS WHICH’ au
'im a werewolf and I accidentally turned you on a full moon so now you’re sired to me and you’re also a werewolf sorry’ au
'we signed up for some kind of social experiment where we are strangers; we took a test and were paired up most compatible so now we have to live with each other for 3 months and if we don’t then we don’t get the money at the end and its all for nothing but you dRIVE ME FUCKING CRAZY I CANT HANDLE THIS IDK IF THE MONEYS WORTH IT AT THIS POINT’ au
'I went on an island for a vacation with friends and I got drunk this one night and apparently got married to this (what I remember) hot person but we don’t think it was official and it would stick until 5 years later I was gonna get married buT I WAS STILL MARRIED TO HIM BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHO THIS GUY IS OR HIS NAME SO I HAVE TO FIND HIM AND DIVORCE HIM BUT ONCE I DO IDK IF I WANT TOO ANYMORE I ACTUALLY AM STARTING TO LIKE HIM FUCK’ au
'we are ex husband/wife and work for NASA and we are sent on an expedition into space so now I have to work with you bc I am most qualified for your team but we had a nasty divorce so everything is really tense’ au
Hi! I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the movie Blackfish and the captive whale debacle in general?
Blackfish gives me an uncomfortable feeling… not because of the subject matter, but because it is a “documentary.” While they may have a point, many films in this vein rely on sensationalizing the truth for *dum dum dummmm* DRAMA. They often have a very specific message in mind and have no problem using outdated footage / material, cutting interviews, and ignoring opposing viewpoints in order to show that their view is the correct view.
I would much rather prefer to watch a dry, fully sourced, scientific documentary that shows BOTH SIDES about a topic (especially in regards to animal welfare), and allows the audience to come to their own conclusion… but that doesn’t really get general audiences interested.
Human being: *sticks gigantic predators into a concrete box devoid of stimulation, scars them emotionally, tears apart their family units, tries to erase their natural instincts, stands on their faces, puts them in the most stressful situations possible*
Whale: *attacks trainer*
Human being: idk why that happened it was an accident
I watched Blackfish, became upset, and wrote an e-mail to SeaWorld at 3 AM
My name is Sydney Reynolds; I’m 20 years old and have always lived about 45 minutes from SeaWorld. Ever since I was little, my parents have taken my brother and I to your Orlando Park and I loved every second of it. I’m a huge animal lover and going to a park dedicated totally to animals was like a dream come true. Like many other kids and adults, my favorite part was the Shamu show; watching the whales lift the trainers up out of the water was spectacular. By far, SeaWorld was my favorite theme park in the Orlando area. My brother was given a job there years ago and I was so excited because he could take me to go see all the shows. In my opinion, SeaWorld was where dreams come true.
After the 2010 accident, where Tilikum killed the trainer Dawn Brancheau, I was completely shocked. I guess I must have forgotten that these were killer whales, even though that was clearly their name. In a way, I think no one wants to think of them as killers. I mean, who wants to take their kids to a show with killers as the main attraction? I guess thousands upon thousands of tourists in this country and others. At first, I completely agreed with your representatives: “it was a mistake,” “the trainer fell in,” “the whale is not at fault.” I even defended the park, almost feeling as if people were insulting my own family. Although I am ashamed of this, I even believed the entire lie that her hair being in a ponytail tricked the whale.
Once I got older, I started researching more and more into the attacks and I stumbled upon the documentary “Blackfish.” I wanted proof that SeaWorld wasn’t at fault. I soon discovered that I wasn’t going to find that kind of evidence–in reality, I found a thousand reasons why your company was at fault. The first piece of evidence that made me start doubting my faith in the park is an article which said Tilikum was “moody” and “aggressive” throughout the day. Even then, I continued trying to find a way to turn this into the trainers fault by saying she should have known to leave him alone, he was already showing signs of disobedience. I tried to be on your side SeaWorld, I truly did, but good Lord, the evidence is really stacked against you and for good reason. This is your fault. Every injury and death committed by these killer whales is your fault. Not the trainers, not the whales, YOUR FAULT.
By stealing these whales from their home in the ocean, you robbed them of their freedom. They are KILLER WHALES. It amazes me that no one in your board room has yet to realize that there are no records of whales deliberately attacking humans in the wild, but hundreds of reports of them attacking humans in captivity. How dense do you have to be? You have no right to put them in a show for your amusement while they’re suffering. The whales are basically in a kiddy pond compared to where they should be. How would you like it if I put you in a closet for your entire life when you know you should be in a full room? You removed babies form their mothers, leaving them completely distressed and making noises unheard before by scientists and researchers. That would be like some stranger removing your children from you and taking them thousands of miles away. I’m sure that’s completely fair; want to give it a try?
I used to be proud to say that I lived so close to Shamu, but now I’m embarrassed. You should be embarrassed. Even your own employees have been lied to, and those are supposed to be the people that put their trust in you. I take my 2-year-old cousin to see the show and I own an annual pass, but I feel like I’ve really messed up. I supported your park and I regret it completely. Now every time I think of a visit to your park, I feel dark inside. I’ve personally contributed to the problem and it makes me feel dirty. There is obviously a huge problem in your park and only you can be the solution. I’m urging you to take a step in the right direction. Please take away your Orca attraction and show. Save someone’s life. Thank you for your time, if you’ve even bothered to read this.
Regards, Sydney Reynolds”
I either made a huge mistake or said exactly what I should have. Doesn’t matter now, I’ve already sent it.