Movie Blackfish (2013)

20180611:
I think the documentary accomplished the appropriate sentiment to strike awareness into a potential problem.


In fact, the documentary appeared to make a dent on SeaWorld's profits and SeaWorld attempts to counter the publicity with their own press such as this webpage: https://seaworldcares.com/killer-whales/. Unfortunately, I'm less inclined to believe what SeaWorld says, even if what they say may be true. In the end, I tried breaking down their five facts at the bottom of this post.

Of course, it's up to SeaWorld to defend its statements (and not for Blackfish to defend its statements), because the (monetary) value that SeaWorld has to gain from its wrongdoings (capturing wild killer whales and potentially improper treatment) is arguably more villainous than the value Blackfish has to gain from potential lies it may have told.*

Overall, the documentary was an eye opener on captivity of killer whales and I would recommend it. One should, however, attempt to do additional reading to help balance out the biased point of view portrayed in the documentary.

Netflix determined the movie for me as a <55%** match. I decided to give the documentary neither a thumbs up nor a thumbs down.

*The Wikipedia article mentions that opposing parties said that Blackfish exploited the death of Dawn Brancheau.


**With the first movie without a match percentage being 1st, Blackfish was the 11th out of 25 items with hidden match percentages.

Instant Comments:
Wow. That's one way to start a documentary.
James Earl Jones
Oh, I was thinking SeaWorld San Diego and Orange County, California. It's actually SeaWorld Orlando and Orange County, Florida.
"We don't speak whale. We don't speak tiger. We don't speak monkey." Well I don't speak Chinese, that doesn't make Chinese people dangerous.
How smart of the whales. Too bad humans gained the upperhand.
Before this, I thought they only brought in in animals that were somehow hurt.
The thing is. They're probably talking to each other and letting each other know what's up. So for SeaWorld to want Tilikum sounds ridiculous.
"There's every indication they use languages."
I'm hearing something like "whales are socially better than humans."
Those people in the background shouting "Oh no." How silly.


About 29 minute mark: Title mentioned. "Blackfish"
How many Shamu's are there? I thought there was one at SeaWorld San Diego [Technically yes. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamu]
How could you ignore the change in behavior?
This trainer reiterates the sentiment.
;_; All these false facts told by the park employees (and other bad behavior) makes me not want to go to SeaWorld anymore.
Wow. To go to a show and see an orca come up with a cut.
(Regarding the one orca smash the trainer) Perhaps they were discussing how they could break free of their captors. If they can organize how to take down a seal on an ice floe, then they can surely organize a murder.
Interesting. On both the trainer and orca's part.
What's Ken Peter's point of view? [I skimmed through an article which refutes many of the claims in Blackfish][However, this page shows some truth in what Blackfish says. For example, while not 100 years, the page does claim that longevity in the wild is longer than in captivity]
Wait, I thought Tilikum was just for breeding.

Watched 20180611 (Netflix, Instant)
Blackfish (2013) Gabriela Cowperthwaite. 83 min


Relevant Links:
Blackfish Website
Blackfish (IMDb.com)
Blackfish (RottenTomatoes.com)
Blackfish (film) (Wikipedia.org)

Statement #1: "We do not capture killer whales in the wild. Due to our groundbreaking reproduction research and program, we haven’t collected a killer whale from the wild in 35 years."
This first statement is interesting because it's already false. If someone killed a person yesterday, would it be correct for that person to say, "I do not kill people"? No. It'd be correct to say, "I have not killed a person today." Likewise, it'd be correct for SeaWorld to say "We no longer capture killer whales in the wild."

Statement #2: "Our killer whales’ life spans are equivalent with whales in the wild."
Clicking on the link, the first paragraph essentially states that the data is not strong enough to make any claim. But then they go ahead and try to use data to make some claims. Then, for whatever reason, while an average is computed for whales in the Pacific Northwest and Southeastern Alaska, no such average is computed for whales at SeaWorld.

Statement #3: "We recognize the importance of social structure and keep dependent killer whale calves with their mothers."
This was a major point in the documentary. Clicking on the link, there's a lot of unrelated info, including reiteration of Statement #1. Here they also add "In fact, only two of the whales in our care were collected from the wild by SeaWorld," which implies they have whales in their care collected from the wild by other organisations.

In any case, one question I have from all this is why SeaWorld felt it was necessary to capture killer whales from the wild in the first place. Did they purely envision profit from having a killer whale? Were they at all concerned about preservation of the species in the wild? Does any of the profit earned go towards protection of killer whales in the wild?

Next is another empty paragraph concerning neonatal mortality. They mention a statistic of neonatal mortality in the wild, but make no reference to how their research (which stems from their breeding program) improves that percentage.

Overall, it's a bunch of filler that doesn't directly address which calves they have separated from their mothers and for what reasons.

Statement #4: "The killer whales in our facilities benefit whales in the wild. We provide scientists with access, research and data that would be difficult or impossible to get in the wild."
Ah, this statement addresses one of my question above and a statement I made in my comment of Statement #3. With that being said, I doubt this is a lot of money. In general, I'm not sure the ends justify the means in this case.

Statement #5: "Introducing new, inspiring, natural orca encounters: SeaWorld’s new orca encounter will take our killer whale shows in a new direction. We will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows, as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals."
Hmm. They make statements like they're doing nothing wrong, but also state that they will create an encounter (and phase out shows). Well, it's a step in the right direction, and perhaps better late than never to do it the right way.