Thursday, January 23, 2014

Propaganda vs Documentary

If you haven't seen or at least heard of the film "Blackfish" you might be living under a rock.  Or you're just extremely lucky and haven't been burdened by the major controversy surrounding this film.  As a professional animal trainer, I feel very strongly about this film and any like it.  Any time there is negative attention on any animal facility or program, we all feel it.  The negative attention that Sea World has gotten over this film is immense.  I personally have been questioned by friends, family, clients, acquaintances, etc... Before I express my viewpoint concerning the film, I would like to first say that what I write here is strictly MY opinion.  My opinion has been formed based off of my personal 8+ years of working with captive wildlife and from my complete adoration, respect, and absolute love for all animals; big & small, young & old, captive & free, wild & domestic....

"Blackfish" has stirred quite the controversial pot across the globe.  It has created an unattractive to the otherwise adored Sea World.  Many argue that whales do not belong in captivity.  Well, guess what? No animal does!  In a perfect world, all animals would remain in the wild.  But this world is far from perfect.  Animals in captivity will always be.  So our job as the ones responsible for putting them in captivity is to give them the best life imaginable.  In fact, some facilities are so good that they nearly triple the life span of many of these animals.  In captivity there is no threat of poaching, habitat loss, or scarcity of food.  They get the veterinary care they may need.  They get constant mental, emotional, and physical stimulation.  (In some cases, they get more enriching lives in captivity than they would in the wild!) I personally know marine mammal trainers, including killer whales, who believe this same basic principle that I do.  I know some trainers who currently work for Sea World & some who used to work for Sea World, and the consensus is the same; these animals get the utmost care that money can buy.  They are the royalty of the captive animal world.  Sea World is a multi-billion dollar company that has contributed greatly to many different efforts of conservation and preservation to the entire animal kingdom.  They even have a rescue program for dogs and cats & incorporate a show into their theme-park offerings.  Sea World is many times the starting block for people who become inspired to become active in conservation efforts.  So without getting too "involved" with Sea World statistics, I want to make the main point of this blog known:
"Blackfish" not only negatively impacts Sea World, but the entire captive animal industry.

My request is this; if you watch this film, please do so realizing that it IS propaganda.  That there are two sides to this issue.  I will attach a few links to this post for further reading from others directly involved with "Blackfish".

I also welcome any questions, (constructive) comments, inquiries, discussions, etc.... Feel free to contact me through our Triple D facebook page or email me directly at

"Sea World's Response to Blackfish"

"The Other Side of Blackfish"

"A Former SW Employee's Response to Blackfish"

Dawn Brancheau's Family Statement About Blackfish