Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.
This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.
Sea World and other marine parks view holding Orcas, killer whales, in captivity an educational opportunity for humans but is it fair to the Orcas themselves?
Watch and decide for yourself. A life in captivity in small concrete pools VS freedom to roam the oceans. Chances are the Orcas would prefer the latter.
Cetacean (Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises) Rights:
A Moral and Legal Change Conference was held in Helisnka at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland On May 21, 2010
On May 22, 2010 the following a Cetaceans Bill of Rights was released:
Based on the principle of the equal treatment of all persons;
Recognizing that scientific research gives us deeper insights into the complexities of cetacean minds, societies and cultures;
Noting that the progressive development of international law manifests an entitlement to life by cetaceans;
We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and wellbeing.
We conclude that:
1. Every individual cetacean has the right to life.
2. No cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
3. All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
4. No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
5. Cetaceans have the right to the protection of their natural environment.
6. Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
7. The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.
8. Cetaceans are entitled to an international order in which these rights, freedoms and norms can be fully realized.
9. No State, corporation, human group or individual should engage in any activity that undermines these rights, freedoms and norms.
10. Nothing in this Declaration shall prevent a State from enacting stricter provisions for the protection of cetacean rights.
Agreed, 22nd May 2010, Helsinki, Finland
Please do not spend your hard earned money to purchase tickets to Dolphin Shows or pay to pet, feed, or swim with captive Dolphins.
These practices encourage the continued capture, slaughter, and sale of a few survivors into lives of captivity.
The video below is a sample of what happens to cetaceans when they are hunted in order to get a few survivors to sell into lives of captivity.
So called dolphin trainers select a few pretty ones from the captured pod. These Dolphins are taken away and shipped out to spend their lives in slavery. The rest of their Dolphin Pod (Family) are brutally slaughtered to be sold for meat. The dolphin meat by the way is highly contaminated and not really fit for consumption by humans.
Thank you to BigGunnsMissions’s , an actual eyewitness to this slaughter for providing the video below. Location – Taiji, Japan, just a few days ago. Taiji Fishermen use the inhumane Dolphin Drive Hunt method to capture these Dolphins.
The Japanese town of Taiji received unwelcome attention when The Cove, a film following its annual dolphin hunt, won an Oscar. Sayuri (not her real name), who worked as a dolphin trainer in Taiji in the 1990s, gives her reaction to the film.
When I saw the film I was deeply shocked. What the movie shows is very similar to my own experience of working as a dolphin trainer in Taiji. Only it went further and showed things that even I hadn’t seen.
Before I ever became a dolphin trainer, I had read many books that made me think that keeping dolphins in captivity was bad.
I wondered whether or not I should choose this profession and I decided to temporarily leave the aquarium that I was working at. I set out for Japan’s Ogasawara Islands to meet some wild dolphins.
I was literally blown away when I first saw wild dolphins. Those dolphins were smiling, they were happy. They had an agility that the dolphins in aquariums just didn’t have.
I became worried about the dolphins that I had left behind in the aquarium. I wanted to protect them, to make their lives just a little happier. And so I became a trainer of captive dolphins.
I did my best as a dolphin trainer to devise ways to let the dolphins enjoy their time in the pools by teaching them tricks and trying to give them incentives to have fun.
I used to go to that same cove – the one in the film – every time fishermen would capture a group of bottlenose dolphins. My job was to see if there were any dolphins suitable for captivity in an aquarium.
Once we’d selected a few, we used to separate them into a selection pool and get them onto tanker boats. It was a tremendous sight. It was always a fight for time so we had to move as quickly as possible.
I knew that the dolphins that were not selected for the aquarium would be killed and their meat sold for food. I was constantly at a loss for words about how that made me feel.
â€œ I often had the impulse to cut the rope that secured the nets, but I didn’t have the courage â€
All I could see was that a rope was tied around the fin and they were taken away. What I didn’t know was that they get trapped in a small cove and killed in such a violent way, that the ocean would turn red from their blood.
There was one time when I went to the cove every day. It was when a family of killer whales was chosen for the aquarium.
They were anxiously swimming around and with each passing day, the big dorsal fin of the leader of the group would turn over on its side and it would look up with such a sad expression.
I often had the impulse to cut the rope that secured the nets, but I didn’t have the courage.
After I finally left the profession, I traveled around the world to see wild dolphins.
When I was in New Zealand, I was on a bus with people who were organising a petition against dolphin and whale hunting in Japan. I was the only Japanese person on the bus and I felt extremely embarrassed at the time.
I think it is about time that we Japanese people open our eyes to what we are doing and what the rest of the world is asking of us.
I know that whale meat was a common staple a long time ago. It was common in school lunches until the 1970s, for example.
I have heard that there are many places outside Taiji where you can eat whale meat, but I believe it is a seasonal product and I have not often seen it.
Additionally, restaurants that serve whale meat tend to be extremely expensive, so only a very small number of people who have a particular desire for the “best” whale meat go there.
The selling and eating of dolphin meat in Japan is limited to a small number of people. Most people in Japan have no idea that dolphins are being killed for meat. People don’t come across such information in their everyday lives, so they simply do not know about it.
There are people who talk about the hunting being part of our culture. But our culture doesn’t have to be such a terrible culture. There is no longer a necessity for dolphin hunting and the people who are doing it now are simply doing it for profit.
I have seen myself fisherman rejoicing over news that a group of killer whales was caught and that a lot of money would be coming in.
It is just a small group of hard-headed men who continue the practice of dolphin hunting with the excuse of protecting our culture.
Foreigners would often come to Taiji to buy dolphins and I remember them saying that Taiji was the only place in the world where they were able to buy dolphins so easily.
I’m sure that if the dolphin hunting at Taiji were to stop, the captivity of dolphins in aquariums around the world would go down.
I wish that The Cove could be seen by as many Japanese people as possible so that they would understand what is really going on.
I hope dolphin hunting can finally be stopped and peace brought back to the lives of the dolphins.
Sayuri’s comments were translated by Michael Nelson
Story from BBC NEWS: