After many months of knowing about this documentary and hearing of it’s amazing eye opening cannot look awayness I have finally got around to watching the doco known as Blackfish. For those who live under a rock, Blackfish is a doco about Orca whales, focusing on those kept in captivity. The main location is Seaworld, Orlanda USA but also includes other locations, countries and companies. The big question in the movie is why did the Orca Tilikum kill his trainer?
It’s like taking a Chinese man who speaks only Chinese and an American woman who speaks only English, then torturing them, starving them, using twisated logic of blame sharing and cruel and unusual punishments, playing sick mind games with them to the point they even turn on each other and kill their own. Forcing them to play tricks at the sound of a whistle or a flick of the hand, just to recieve the bear necessities of life.
The whales come from all different areas of the globe. They have different languages and so would not be able to understand each other and communicate. They come from different family and community backgrounds, which means they have never seen the other whales before they are placed with them and have limited to no friendship with the others they are surrounded by. They are a large animal kept in a tiny enclosure. They are used to having an entire community of whales around them and the entire ocean at their dorsal fin. Instead they have a tiny enclosure, with random others who speak not their language, stuck within the small confides being unable to break away and get space when emotional.
when they took away a mother Orcas baby, she cried for so long, calling deep cries that in the ocean would have spread as far as a whales pitch could, searching for her baby. The other female whales tried to console every few hours, but quickly ran (swam) away again. Noone had ever heard the whale make much noise at all, let alone anything like the noise she made when they took her baby away. Her greif was clear and peircing through the video footage.
Imagine being stuck in a broom closet, with a person from the other side of the globe, unable to speak each others languages, and you find you guys don’t particularly like each other. You’re both being tortured and underfed daily and the only meal is the same thing every single day. And you only get fed if you do exactly as they say. The two of you are pitted against each other every day for training, making you despise each other even more. When you have a baby, they do the same to the child, for a while. Then they steal it from you and sell it.
As for the trainers, they have their own story. Almost all of them are picked very young, around 19 years old. Always beautiful and friendly. Always very naive and trusting of the company. Always uneducated and oblivious to the actual life of a non-captive orca.They don’t know that Orcas live much the same life span as a human at 60 to 100 years old – int the wild. In captivity it’s 25-35 years. Trainers are taught to say that is how long they live in the wild. In the wild less than 1% of the orca population experience a curving of their fin. In captivity all of them do. The trainers are taught to say that 25% of wild orcas experience it. And the trainers believe all of this, because as far as their youthful and trusting ways are concerned why would Seaworld lie?
There is something else the trainers don’t know. Every time a trainer has been injured or lost their life doing their job around the animal, there has always been a perfectly good and reasonable explination. Trainer error. An accident occurred. When you’re fresh to the job you genuinely believe that this is how the person whose job your taking had passed away. It’s your first day on the job of a billion childrens dreams, you’re not asking questions. You’re just so happy to be here. It’s when you’ve settled in that you quickly realise these aren’t really your friends. Friends don’t lunge out of the pool and try to kill you. It doesn’t take long for it to happen to them or a coworker. The orca lunges out, grabs a trainer by the arm or foot or, possibly, the ponytail, drags the person under the water and doesn’t let go. The trainer dies. The theme park calls it ‘trainer error’. The other trainers know damn well that it wasn’t. The theme park lied.
Trainers are getting seriously injured and killed. Orcas are getting tortured and killed.Seaworld is fighting to keep things this way. They don’t want safety precautions. They don’t want animal rights. They don’t want to have to give accurate information to the public or to their own staff. And if you think like dear Bindi Irwin does that Seaworld a) takes care of the animals and b) provides accurate information in regards to animals to inform and entertain the public, then I’m sorry you’re wrong. I really am.
These animals are dangerous only in captivity. In the wild, they love humans and want to be our friends. Except when we’re chasing them down and stealing their babies in front of them, cutting open the ones that die from the process, filling them with lead and dropping their carcass back in to sink to the bottom of the ocean.
I’m sorry this post was a little late, but I had much to say. I too am now boycotting Seaworld. If you haven’t seen Blackfish, you should really watch Blackfish. I swear you won’t regret it.