SeaWorld and Fans Avoid “Blackfish” by Changing the Subject


At 9pm E.T. on October 24th, “Blackfish” premiered nationwide on CNN and 1.36 million households tuned in to watch. Audiences were prepped for the premiere as CNN dedicated an entire week to the topic of killer whale captivity. The network featured a lengthy investigation of the issue by Jane Velez-Mitchell, interviews with “Blackfish” director Gabriella Cowperthwaite, and lively discussions on the topic between animal advocates and SeaWorld defenders.

After the premiere, audiences were asked whether they would take their kids to SeaWorld. 86% of respondents said no. Anderson Cooper followed the film with a special report focusing on killer whale captivity and questioning industry representatives like Jungle Jack Hanna. Twitter was dominated by #BlackfishOnCNN and SeaWorld Facebook pages lit up with comments from angry fans cancelling season passes and demanding answers from their favorite marine park.

SeaWorld has issued a couple responses toward the film since its theatrical release, but the answers they are giving the public in these responses are less than satisfying. One of the main arguments brought against “Blackfish” by SeaWorld and fans is that it does not mention the company’s work with conservation and rescue. This is an obvious attempt to change the subject. The ethics of keeping killer whales in captivity is totally irrelevant to conservation and rescue programs. Using these programs to justify killer whale captivity is a bit like defending an abusive person because they volunteer at a soup kitchen. The two are not related. Just because someone does something “good” does not mean that they are excused to do something evil.

In fact, the “good” of SeaWorld’s rescue and rehabilitation efforts have been called into question. The park mostly rehabilitates and releases manatees, sea birds and sea turtles which are not entertainment animals. It has been said that staff will train rescued entertainment animals like dolphins, whales and sea lions to see how well they take to doing tricks. Those that prove to be submissive performers remain in captivity, those that do not submit are eventually released. SeaWorld has also been criticized for their failure to follow up on releases to see if the animals they save actually survive.

Not only is the nature of SeaWorld’s rescue program under question, but it should be noted that these efforts to save wild animals are NOT funded by SeaWorld! The program is operated by a non-profit organisation, the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, who funds these efforts with government grants. SeaWorld’s conservation fund is also largely supported by grants and public donations.

Since these efforts do not rely on money from animal shows, SeaWorld could easily stop keeping animals for entertainment purposes, and simply continue their conservation and rescue programs. In the meantime, we should continue to pressure SeaWorld and fans to provide answers to the topic at hand: the ethics of killer whale captivity, rather than allowing them to divert attention to an unrelated topic.

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22 thoughts on “SeaWorld and Fans Avoid “Blackfish” by Changing the Subject

  1. It’s strange though that profits from the film are going to the director, CNN and Netflix and not to Orca Research. That is possibly why the director says “the point is not for Seaworld to shut down” but to discourage people from attending the parks. Possibly because she is fully aware that the backlash of the film would be another “free willy” effect. I encourage people to watch “The Whale Who Would not be Freed” from the New York Times to have a better understanding on the can of worms Blackfish has opened as far as freeing them so that we can focus our attention on something more logical for the future. Food for thought, not trying to start an argument. Not defending Seaworld just see a bigger picture

    • interesting point, however most people passionate about the immorality of orca captivity already know that these whales cannot just be plopped back in the ocean, but must be retired to a sea pen. or, in some classes, undergo lots of rehabilitation if they were wild-caught and possibly be released. nothing is a done deal and the whales would not be irresponsibly put back in the wild.

  2. Download uTorrent or any torrent downloader and go to the link above click the down arrow to start the torrent file download :) open that file with uTorrent, if you keep the file seeding you’ll be sharing it for others around the world.

    This movie makes me remember the negitive emotions I’ve always felt at any zoo or SeaWorld who is now partly owned by PETA seems like Blackstone Group just bought it by Busch Gardens; I guess business as usual mean profit over health for our fellow Earthlyings << for another horrid movie search for Earthlings (2005) on bitsnoop dot com

    info from themeparkinsider dot com

    O, and Jim Atchison got ride of the Clydesdals as well.

  3. It doesn’t surprise me that they avoid answering any questions in regards to keeping the whale show because they know they have been called out and for all the right reasons. I seriously hope that more people see Blackfish and The Cove and share them as much as possible. The more people educate themselves about these issues the more they will realize how important it is for us to survive that our marine life and nature be left alone. These animals need a voice and I will be glad to be part of that voice for them.

  4. Pingback: SeaWorld and Fans Avoid “Blackfish” by Changing the Subject | Responsible Dog ~ It's all about dogs

  5. Pingback: SeaWorld and Fans Avoid “Blackfish” by Changing the Subject | Responsible Dog ~ It's all about dogs

  6. Agreeing to keep social animals in captivity for human entertainment is like saying it’s acceptable to keep another person prisoner and isolated for your sick entertainment. Enjoy the whales and dolphins IN their natural habitat just as humans enjoy one another in OUR habitat.

  7. Saw the movie.The movie was a good representation of what happens to these animals…they do not do well in captivity…end of story…they are super intelligent….Sea World is a corporation…bottom line is money……it’s like entertaining people in Las Vegas with Lions..just shouldn’t be. Most of the trainers interviewed, really thought they were doing something important..in hindsight and with some wisdom they now know it wasn’t a good gig.

  8. Wow – insightful article. If everything in this article is factual, we have really been sold a pack of lies from SeaWorld. I’ve been twice but had no idea what those amazing animals have gone through. Prison sentences for innocent animals – I hope SeaWorld is forced to change this.

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