Killer Whales: Where Do You Fall

23 Feb



I know there has been a lot of publicity about this situation going on, so you can call me ignorant because I have not jumped on board. Well, today I finally watched Blackfish.  It was very moving.  The first time I watched Free Willy (the 1993 Warner Bros. movie) I remember wondering if and thinking that Sea World had to be like that to some extent.  We didn’t have cable at that time and lived in the country so all of the national news coverage — well we didn’t exactly get all of that.  We only received whatever trickled down to the local media.  It was the following year that I went to Sea World in San Antonio that I fell in love with the place (but still in the back of my mind couldn’t help but wonder how much was happening that resembled the movie).  Well needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves as we rode all the fun rides, and I managed to run through the lines because I was not only pregnant with my youngest son, but I had pretty bad back problems so they were kind enough to put me in a wheelchair and move me through the front of the line.  

We couldn’t wait to go through all of the things that Sea World had in store…the seals, the dolphins, but especially the famous Shamu. My family and I spent the entire day out in the hot and humid San Antonio weather and had a pretty decent day.  We later watched Free Willy on video and I wondered how much was true.  Well, busy life gets in the way, I get out of the military, then my husband does as well, we  struggle financially….and we don’t give it much thought.  Fast forward a few years and Sea World is practically giving away tickets to military families all over the country.  Wow!  Fast forward again a few years and now all of a sudden social media explodes with #Blackfish and other such things.  

Now, I am no different than a great majority of your average person….if I really admire and look up to a celebrity, I follow them on Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, etc.  I have seen and read all about the Blackfish thing going on all over.  However, just because I really look up to a celebrity doesn’t mean (at least not for me) that I will jump on board with whatever THEY believe in.  I believe that I should know what I am talking about before I post about it.  Weeeelllll, to some extent.  It doesn’t take a genius to know that animals in captivity can go wrong.  The main reason being that they have been taken from their natural habitat.  Add ripping apart mother’s and their young and it can only get worse. 

Well I have finally seen the documentary film Blackfish.  But to be fair, I also researched and read some some of Sea World’s side of the story.  An online article dated January 28, 2014 in the Tampa Bay Times by Susan Thurston also saw Blackfish and she states that boycotting may be a bit harsh since animals in captivity lashing out isn’t anything new.  Additionally, the article also adds that Sea World San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio are not allowing this bad publicity to stop their upcoming summer shows.

Only time will tell if this “The Show Will Go On” attitude from Sea World toward Blackfish and other bad publicity will affect their bottom line financially.  I for one would love to see the movie Free Willy make a comeback because even though many people don’t like to follow the news, the box office is a different story.  Maybe Warner Bros could resurrect this movie from it’s forgotten vault and start a Free Willy — or rather Free Tilly — campaign this spring, just in time for the Sea World openings.  

I am not on a boycotting rampage here, but the truth is that animals that have been known to hurt humans in captivity should have been stopped from being around humans in such close proximity a long time ago.  If my pit bull bites a person, the law would be on the victims side and my dog would be put down.  But I guess when it’s a multi million dollar “pit bull” the story is a different one.  I don’t agree with that logic, or rather that lack of logic at all.  


The site has put out a YouTube video with a SeaWorld trainer who defends the mega company for whom she works.  This is only my interpretation of the video interview but the trainer really seemed to genuinly believe in what she was saying and not some spiel handed to her by SeaWorld.  Trainers who love their job and the orcas they work with can easily defend what they do, that doesn’t mean that their beliefs are wrong

The only people who know with certain which side the sword falls on this issue are probably the researchers who without bias research the life of the orcas in the wild and in captivity. How much access they get to those in captivity and how much they are allowed to publicly disclose is another story altogether.  

Where do I fall on this issue? Hmm, I think I want to see for myself but I also know that based on both interviews, footage, but most importantly, based on history, I am on the side of the whales.  I believe that when people want to make a buck and exploit such a beautiful thing like killer whales, well that cannot be totally right.  

Good luck with whatever you decide to do on your own, but if I lived closer to the ocean, I think I would do a little more to educate myself on this subject then start my own blog specifically on this subject.  For now, join the fight FOR THE WHALES!!!



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