Growing up in San Diego, CA, I have been to Sea World HUNDREDS of times. I practically grew up there, and when my daughter was born, I signed us all up for passes and we have been visiting the park 2-3 times a month..up until about a month ago, when my passes expired.
I was waiting for Holiday Vacation to come around so that I can renew the passes, not thinking we would have the time to visit until then.
I know so much about dolphins, fish and orca's that I could usually answer any question from any tourist while staring through the thick blue glass...watching the magnificent Killer Whales swim in their seemingly large pools... the whales seem well fed, the water was clean..they were safe and sound with medical staff and trainers round the clock should the need arise. The truth is, that I only know what the members of the "Education and Conservation" department at Sea World have told me over the years... not questioning for a second that any of them could be dishonest. These people and their crisp blue uniforms seemed so official.. they were the authority on all things Sea World.
Last night I watched Blackfish on CNN. I am stunned.
Of course the thought was always in the back of my mind...that these animals probably want to be free...but the children were learning so much about them, right? The water was so clean... they smile, wave and appear happy.. they perform amazing tricks and they are awarded massive piles of fish...what could be so bad about this?
My heart is so heavy after watching this documentary... my husband too. Understanding certain behaviors of the mammals.. I mean, everyone hears about whales gone bad...but it is true; we were lead to believe by Sea World that all of these incidents were in fact accidents. I believed everything that I was fed.
I have explained the movie to my now 7 year old, and I told her that we cannot go back to Sea World as the park exists now. I explained to her some of the things we watched in the movie and told her the "clean" version of what I saw. Her eyes were wide... she listened to my ever word, and when I was finished with my story about Blackfish, she looked at me and convincingly stated, "Workers at Sea World should ALWAYS tell the truth no matter what." She agreed that we should not go there anymore.
Support for the film and the whales seems overwhelmingly positive on Twitter. Sea World's stock prices have dropped.. But I know people will still visit the park. I can only hope that maybe more people will see this movie and together we can uncover more of the truth about these animals.....
Check your local listings...I'm sure you can find Blackfish on CNN to add to your DVR if you are interested.. I have also read on twitter that the DVD will be out soon as well.
edit: I do not discount the fact that Sea World raises awareness with its programs as well as rescues, rehabilitates and releases countless animals into the wild every year. What bothers me is what seems to be a blatant hiding of the truth about the whales in captivity, how they got there in the first place as well as the conflicting reports surrounding the death of Dawn Brancheau.