“I think that in 50 years, we’ll look back and go ‘My God, what a barbaric time.'”
Last night I watched something that made me realize a truth that I didn’t even realize all throughout my childhood. Visiting amusement parks with massive creatures enclosed behind a glass window… seeing orcas, dolphins, and sharks in front of me, the incredible size difference… it was magical. But the sudden truth set in now. SeaWorld makes its money through the exploitation of orcas. Simple. Taking regal creatures like killer whales and keeping them in tight, enclosed captivity is morally inhumane in every possible aspect. And the fact that Tilikum, the main killer whale at SeaWorld is still, to this day, kept in captivity and exclusively released just to make a few splashes in the show is just… heartbreaking.
Everything with this picture is so skewed, beginning with the entire expedition for hunting wild killer whales to then capture and basically imprison for the rest of their lives. Starting with capturing baby orcas, and separating them from their parents… I can’t even begin to express how much this breaks my heart. One thing I learned in this documentary is that orcas, killer whales, have a part of their brain that’s meant for communicating emotion to other orcas. Orcas are social creatures, and they communicate on levels humans could never begin to understand, meaning everything they do, they do together. The mothers never leave the baby orcas, the eldest orcas never leave the mother. It’s a two way street that humans couldn’t begin to process. So to separate, hunt, and trick these orcas into captivity is simply savage. And the saddest part? When the baby orcas are being taken away from their mothers via stretcher, and the hunters drop the nets to release the mother orcas, the mothers don’t leave. They stay and watch. They cry, they scream, they release all this emotion… and the hunters continue to take them away from their mothers. It’s monstrous.
No, it’s not just because I have a heightened sensitivity to animals, any decent human being knows that what happens with these killer whales is barbaric. I’m in no way an expert about these whales, but after seeing this documentary, my eyes have been entirely opened to what I hadn’t even spent a split second to think about. The treatment of these wild, majestic animals is so disgusting and overwhelming that I can’t help but feel pure anger towards corporations like SeaWorld. And in the end, that’s all it is. An enterprise focused on making ends meet, no matter the cost. No matter the physical, mental, and emotional trauma they cause these creatures.
From what I saw in this documentary, it’s a corporation that brainwashes its employees to believe that the way they’re treating these animals is “better” than they would be treated in their natural habitat. I’m just disgusted. I can’t say anything more than that. Maybe the documentary is biased, maybe it’s purely funded by OSHA to expose SeaWorld for it’s cruelty. But who knows.
And lastly, yes, I have been to the SeaWorld parks before. Multiple times. Did it ever cross my mind how they treated these creatures? Of course not. Not when there’s plush orca whales at every gift shop on every corner of the park. Not when there’s Disneyland-esque, magical music playing to drill into your mind you’re in a happy environment. Not when there’s trainers smiling, feeding the animals fish, acting like they have a legitimate relationship with the creatures. You don’t even take a moment to think about what goes on with these animals. You’re not supposed to, why would you?
So if there’s one thing you can take away from this rather long… rant, post, tell-tale, whatever you want to call it, it’s this: please watch the documentary Blackfish. It’s only about 90 minutes long and honestly so eye-opening. It makes you think about things you’ve never thought about, taking a new perspective on animals in captivity. While you’re on Winter holiday and you’re already on Netflix, just take some time to watch this powerful documentary. Maybe with the release of this documentary SeaWorld will stop their multimillion dollar exploitation of orca whales. In fact, all of their animals at the park. And for that matter, not just SeaWorld, every organization that takes animals and tortures them for entertainment. There’s so much going on in the world that it’s easy to overlook all the injustices. Well, here’s a start. Just take a look, you’ll only learn.
Header image of orca whales in the wild, courtesy of here.