Last night the controversial documentary about Orca's in captivity at Sea World premiered on CNN. The documentary chronicles the death of Orca sea world trainer Dawn Brancheau who was pulled under and drowned by one of the Killer Whales she trained during the "Shamu Show" in 2010.
The documentary features interviews with many former Sea World trainers who worked with the Orca's. The trainers interviewed now have a completely negative view of Sea World, especially regarding their Whale catching practices.
In "Blackfish" Sea World is shown capturing killer whales and separating babies from their mothers in Portland and other locations. The mothers separated from their babies are so in pain, that they scream primal screams continuously that no one has really heard before.
The documentary also told the story of the violent whale Tilikum who Sea World puts in the Shamu show despite Tilikum's history of violent incidents towards humans. Sea World purchased Tilikum with the intention of having him perform in the show, and also to breed him to ensure more future orca's will be in the show.
Sadly as a live long San Diego resident and Sea World visitor many times this documentary was quite disturbing. I've heard rumors of Sea World's practices before, but had always justified their history of animal conservation under the premise that they saved sick or endangered sea creatures. Blackfish strikes a chord where it appears this is clearly not the case.
Growing up I have had many fond memories of Sea World, so it pains me to say that I will have to consider no longer visiting. It will be tough to deprive my future daughter of the same memorable experiences I had, but under the pretense that Sea World is sorely out for profits instead of helping animals it seems I just won't be able to go back without feeling sick about it.
It was so easy to cover my ears, and ignore the negative about Sea World, but i just can't ignore this. Blackfish at least exposes the truth, and now the moral dilemma it creates also sets up an easy answer. I can't go back.