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October 2nd, 2014

Blackfish

****

 

I haven’t participated in any kind of vote besides an MLB All-Star ballot in many years. However, if there was a national referendum on whether the government should shut down SeaWorld and free all their Killer Whales, I would show up to the polls and vote YES.

 

Orcas absolutely do not belong in captivity. And the muckraking documentary “Blackfish” proves it.

 

Take the case of Tillikum: a male Killer Whale who has been living/performing at aquariums for decades.

 

Most of the time, Tillikum behaves himself and does what he is told. Sometimes, he hurts people. Sometimes he kills people.

 

If Tillikum were a Pit Bull, he would have been euthanized a long time ago. But because his shows still make money and because his sperm makes a lot of money, the greedy people who run SeaWorld refuse to let him go.

 

Indeed, they have systematically lied and tried to cover up every violent incident.

 

When a reckless fan snuck into Tillikum’s holding pool one night, SeaWorld officials announced that the man drowned.

 

However, the whale trainers who actually saw the body the next morning reported a lot more chomp marks and mutilation than you’d expect from a drowning incident.

 

Tillikum had clearly torn the man apart. But SeaWorld never has admitted – even to prospective trainers who are in grave danger – that Tillikum is a violent killer.

 

The saddest thing about “Blackfish” is that it shows how Tillikum became an aggressive man eater.

 

In the wild, orcas are passive and gentle. They live harmoniously in family units. Mothers live with their children until either parent or child dies.

 

The life of a SeaWorld orca begins by being snatched away from his mother as a baby and forced to spend 2/3 of its life in a small, dark, lonely pool.

 

The best few hours of the day are the ones where he has to perform moronic tricks on command. Because if he doesn’t, he won’t get any fish.

 

It’s hard to know exactly what is going on inside the head of a whale, but the filmmakers convinced me that SeaWorld orcas experience enough boredom, restlessness, and humiliation to turn a gentle creature into an angry killer.

 

If you still aren’t convinced that SeaWorld’s actions are morally unacceptable, I implore you to watch the scene where a baby whale who was born in captivity is taken away from his mother and sold to another sea park.

 

The mother orca screeched in horror for several days straight. When she finally got tired, the depressed female moved to the corner of the pool and moped alone in catatonic sadness for weeks.

 

I am not an animal lover, but seeing that whale wail broke my heart.

 

Anyone who defends the free enterprise system should hate the guys who run SeaWorld. Because they are giving capitalism a bad name.

 

The tales told by regretful trainers about the incidents they witnessed and took part in are ghastly. It is clear to me that it is only a matter of time before the orca entertainment industry is abolished as more and more people learn the truth.

 

I wish we could hurry up and ban it before anyone else gets killed.

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