I fell in love with Orcas when I watched the movie, Free Willy. Back then, I did not know there was anything inherently wrong with keeping animals in captivity, especially killer whales. When I came to the United States at the age of fifteen, I finally had the chance to see them live and up close at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Even though I was ecstatic to see them from up close, I immediately knew that there was something wrong with keeping those large ocean animals in these small tanks. I came home and researched more into Orcas in captivity and found organizations that are against the cause.
Blackfish came out in 2013. I watched it in theatres on their opening night. It was amazing because this movie has portrayed everything that is wrong with the industry with the story of Tilikum. Tilikum was captured in 1983 from Iceland when he was a calf. He has been performing in captivity ever since.
Tilikum has killed two trainers while in captivity and Seaworld made it out to be the killer whale’s fault and its animal instincts. But, the documentary shows that the orcas have been traumatized and psychologically ill from mistreatment and being kept in small tanks. The documentary showed how people were socially constructed to watch killer whales in captivity and see it as a normal entertainment. But, It is not really okay to keep emotionally intelligent animals in small tanks and separate them from their pod. Killer whales swim hundreds and thousands of miles in the wild but in the tanks, they just float aimlessly.
This documentary was very successful in educating the public about cruel treatment in captivity and the ugly truth behind SeaWorld’s billion dollar industry. After Blackfish came out, SeaWorld dealt with many backlashes and the public rising against Orca captivity. Since then, they announced that SeaWorld is ending their Orca breeding and live Orca shows.
Blackfish movie, Blackfish.com. Dogwoof, 2016. Web. 2 Jul. 2016.