Blackfish, the documentary about SeaWorld, Tilikum and other orcas in captivity, was recently released in the US. It is an incredibly powerful film and a must-see before visiting a park with captive marine mammals.
Here are five reason to go see it:
1. It’s not trying to guilt you.
Unlike many environmental and animal rights documentaries, this film isn’t trying to make you feel bad. The trainers at SeaWorld didn’t even know how much they weren’t being told so how could you know? Nope. Blackfish isn’t about guilt, it’s about opening your eyes and showing you what’s really happening so you can make the decision for yourself.
2. It’s not graphic.
When I first saw the trailer for Blackfish, I assumed it would be similar to The Cove. (For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s about the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. Read this post to learn more.) The Cove, as more of a docudrama, spends plenty of time focusing on water turned red with blood, the cries of wounded dolphins and other generally disturbing footage. Same goes for PETA’s Meet Your Meat–I nearly lost my lunch while watching that film. While that method can be incredibly powerful, that’s not the method used in Blackfish. The filmmakers actually gloss over some of the truly gruesome stuff.
3. For all of MST’s readers in the US – It’s happening right here in our backyard.
This is different than many films like The Cove which takes place in Japan or The End of the Line which happens in the middle of the oceans, seemingly far, far away. This isn’t something you can blame on another country, government or tradition. It’s happening right here.
4. It will change your mind about visiting parks with marine mammals in captivity.
After watching Blackfish, the idea of spending your vacation at a place like SeaWorld is absurd. You get to know these whales and their ex-trainers and you can begin to understand how they feel. You can see what the whales are like in the wild and you realize that there actually isn’t anything educational about seeing an 8,000 pound orca in a teeny tiny tank.
5. You can do something about it.
This is probably the most important reason to me because you don’t have to leave the theater depressed and angry, thinking there’s nothing you can do about it because there is. You can stop buying tickets to these places. Without your money, they won’t last long. And even better, you can take the money you would have spent on a trip to SeaWorld and spend it on a whale watching trip on a boat in the wild where you can see these creatures the way they were meant to be seen.
So. My advice: wait for the next rainy day this summer, bring a big group and go see it. But at the very least, go see it before you spend money at SeaWorld (or any similar place) in the future.
Here’s the trailer:
If the documentary not in a theater near you but you’re still interested in learning more about it, watch this great, short interview with former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove who is featured in Blackfish.
Have you seen Blackfish? Let us know in the comments section below — I would love to know what you thought about it!
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.