Hawk Talk

Blackfish Causes Troubles in the Waters

Keiko, a Killer whale, and the star of the Free Willy Movies.

Keiko, a killer whale and the star of the Free Willy movies, is one of many orcas embroiled in controversy.
(c) 2010 GALE

If you have Netflix, you’ve most likely seen the movie Blackfish. If you haven’t seen it,  you’ve most likely have heard about it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say Blackfish, then you probably live under a rock. Blackfish has been praised endlessly for its gripping and truthful footage. But really, is it as honest as we think?

Blackfish is a compelling documentary that tells a shocking story of Seaworld and their killer whales. It focuses in on one whale in particular; Tillikum, a 12,000 pound orca male, who has taken the lives of two people, something that has never happened in the wild. So what went wrong? Blackfish gets down to the roots of what they say is a case of psychosis that began with captivity.

After its TV debut on CNN in October, Blackfish exploded. People have taken to protesting Seaworld Orlando on the streets and online. People have tweeted relentlessly at Seaworld, attacking them for being cruel and inhumane, and pressuring their partners to drop them. The hashtag ‘seaworldsucks’ trended on twitter recently, with accounts such as PETA contributing. A tweet from PETA reads: “Dear orcas abused at @Seaworld, we see you, we care, we’re sorry, we’re trying…” Hundreds of protesters stood outside Seaworld Orlando, demanding that Seaworld ‘Free Tilly.’

But some are not so easily swayed. As a response to the ‘seaworldsucks’ hashtag, people also tweeted ‘#standwithseaworld’, to show their support of the park. They claim that Blackfish is not a documentary at all, but in fact, a movie that is dangerously close to propaganda. Seaworld has also finally made a response with their new website, www.seaworld.com/truth, which tries to debunk some of the alleged truths made in Blackfish.

Both viewpoints present some solid evidence, so what do you think? Is Seaworld all bad, or is there some good in them? If you haven’t seen Blackfish, it’s free on Netflix.

Image: “Keiko, a killer whale, at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, Oregon, 1998.” Animal Rights. Kim Masters Evans. 2009 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Information Plus Reference Series. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.

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