4 April 2014
SeaWorld: Harmless Entertainment or Preview of Orca Extention?
Who does not love to see dolphins and whales flipping and doing tricks? Although the animals look happy and unharmed, there is a dark truth behind the captive marine life in amusement parks and zoos. Yes, attending zoos and marine life amusement parks are a part of childhood; but recently researchers have discovered just how cruel the environment is for the marine life in captivity. After studies of comparing the quality of life of marine animals in the wild and in captivity, there are multiple examples shown in Blackfish, PETA, and the Animal Welfare Institute that show that animals prosper and live longer in their natural habitats. Due to the cruelty endured by the captivated Orcas, all the SeaWorld parks should be shut down and the Orca whales should be set free to prevent further demise to their species. In 2013, one documentary changed the world for animals in captivity forever. Blackfish, premiered in the Sundance Film Festival and was immediately picked up by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films. Director Gabriela Copwerthwaite and her team spent years investigating and creating one of the most controversial and inspiring documentaries the United States has seen. Over the past year, Blackfish has made over two million dollars at the box office, making it one of the most popular documentaries of our time. Not only does Blackfish inspire people to reconsider going to Sea World, it generates people to try to make a change for the animals in captivity. Blackfish is a documentary that centers on the life of the killer whale Tilikum, most famous for his large structure and his collapsed dorsal fin. The documentary begins explaining the attack of three different whale trainers while employed by Sea World. Ironically enough, Sea World was not the only common thread among these deaths. All of these victims also shared the same cause of death: Tilikum, the “killer whale”. Tilikum was captured off the coast of Ireland in 1983 as a baby whale. Blackfish describes in detail the three deaths and the true reason behind the anger behind Tilikum’s attacks. The attacks were provoked by the mistreatment of the whales. Tilikum and the other whales were held in small floating cages that were just as big as their own dimensions. Orca whales are used to being in the wild and having miles of ocean to roam, so when SeaWorld captures these whales and does not give them the right living environment, it is shown that they attack. While in the Sea World captivity, the Orca whales lifespan is almost half the size of a free Orca whale lifespan. Tilikum is still held in captivity by Sea World, only moving when he has to during shows. Many activists and former Sea World Employees have formed movements and have appeared on the news to try to get Sea World to free these whales.
There are multiple differences between whales in captivity and whales in the wild. There are countless recorded injuries inflicted on instructors by orcas, but killer whales in the wild have no record of ever hurting a human being. SeaWorld would give tours and tell their audience that the life span of whales in the wild was 25-30 years and that whales in captivity live longer, because of the veterinarian care they receive. According to Howard Garret, an expert on killer whales, orcas in the wild have lived to be over 100 years old. SeaWorld tells their audience that 25% all orca whales in the world have a collapsed dorsal fin, which is due to gravity, dehydration, illness and injury. In reality, only 1% of orca whales in the wild have a collapsed dorsal fin and 100% of all captive whales have a collapsed dorsal fin. The reason why there are so many attacks in SeaWorld is directly related to the treatment and the territory that they are put in. SeaWorld claims that the whales that show together are all from the same family, but in actuality, they are taken from...
Cited: Blackfish. Dir. Gabriela Copwerthwaite. 2013. Netflix.
"Aquariums and Marine Parks." PETA. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr.
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