People of the internet, one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a while.
Last year I wrote a letter to Dalton McGuinty about the state of Marineland and the treatment of animals in captivity within Ontario. I’ve visited a few zoos and blogged about my experiences, and to be honest, I don’t think I was critical enough about my time spent at the Riverside Park and Zoo and Jungle Cat World.
Now that I think about it more, Jungle Cat World is an epic failure in the realm of animal treatment and showcases what is terrible about privately owned zoos here in Ontario. The Riverside Park and Zoo is more of a petting zoo at heart, but does host some large mammals, such as a pair of Mountain Lions, in horrendously small enclosures.
Blackfish is a documentary about what happens when you put such large animals in small cages. And the result is not good.
Watching the documentary was intense. Seeing the extensive footage of whales pulling the trainers underwater, holding them there, playing with them as they scream for help and hyperventilate to prepare to be pulled to the bottom again is frightening.
I myself have never been to a SeaWorld or Marineland, but to my understanding it can be basically summed up as an aquatic circus.
Watching Blackfish demonstrates that even the trainers and staff there have little understanding of the true behaviors and biology of these great animals, every show is designed only to create spectacle and generate revenue without any real teaching passed on to the audience. Even the ushers helping people to their seats share made up facts about the orcas that lazily explain their actions in the tanks.
Marineland is the Canadian equivalent to SeaWorld and was hit with a series of articles by the Toronto Star roughly a year ago regarding the mistreatment of the orcas and other aquatic animals there. Stories from old workers and trainers began to surface regarding poor water conditions, animal disease, under-staffing and the general neglect for the welfare and health of the orcas, sea lions and dolphins.
Whether it be SeaWorld or Marineland, I think all this goes to show that we’ve become both more knowledgeable and more aware about animal behavior in the wild and in captivity. Research has advanced so far in the last twenty-five years that we’ve begun to recognize culture, language and emotions in species other than humans.
In countries such as India, Costa Rica and Chile dolphins are now recognized as nonhuman people due to their advanced intelligence and social behavior. India has prohibited the use of dolphins in theme parks.
In 2010 several marine biologists and researches stated that cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) demonstrate behavior that puts them on par with humans and therefore should be protected by a bill of rights.
Literally a Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans.
After watching how an orca reacts to having its firstborn taken away to a separate SeaWorld in Blackfish I find it hard to think how that’s a far fetched idea anymore.
Enough of my rambling, go and watch this movie. Sign up for that free trial of Netflix and watch Blackfish first.
And promise me you’ll never go to SeaWorld again.
Today I watched Blackfish.
Also, I found a cool site about the political action against Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Have a look below: