Blackfish - tonight BBC4 9pm

(64 Posts)
HesterShaw Thu 21-Nov-13 14:05:07

It anyone's not seen this documentary, it's well worth a watch. It was very well received at the Sundance film festival and has got Seaworld on the run, which was the intention smile.

It will make you think very hard about marine mammals in captivity, as well as it being very entertaining.

NewChoos Thu 21-Nov-13 15:47:40

I want to watch but think I'm too hormonal (have newborn!). I think it's good to raise awareness and I certainly would not visit sea world again, just doesn't seem right to me.

HesterShaw Thu 21-Nov-13 17:38:13

<shamelessly bumps own thread>

NewChoos Thu 21-Nov-13 18:02:20

Do you know if sea world attendance has reduced since this film?

<unintentional bump!>

HesterShaw Thu 21-Nov-13 18:26:42

Apparently it has yes! They had a shocking summer, and also their share price is sliding all the time.

They blame it on the weather of course. Tossers.

Everyone should see this film. I read the book too Killer Whales in the wild are awesome. They have incredible brains way more developed than human brains for emotion, all the more sad when you consider the way they are treated in captivity sad

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Thu 21-Nov-13 21:08:13

I'm watching this.

Can't believe the 911 call "A whale has eaten one of the trainers"

GlitterStag Thu 21-Nov-13 21:26:09


Not by the makers of the film, but on the same theme. Poor Tilikum.

GlitterStag Thu 21-Nov-13 21:26:21
CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Thu 21-Nov-13 21:40:03

sad Taking that baby whale away was so sad. The mum calling out to her really made me tear up sad

HowlingTrap Thu 21-Nov-13 21:44:03

Aah you got here first! I was thinking is there a thread on this, I am watching intently too, Love a good Shock Doc! I saw the trailer and was like I need to see this!!!!

Poor girl, RIP Dawn.

NewChoos Thu 21-Nov-13 21:47:26

That's why I couldn't watch it Charlie that part was mentioned to me. Just awful sad

NewChoos Thu 21-Nov-13 21:48:27

I can't stand all the Seaworld PR - they are coming across as complete tossers I agree.

HowlingTrap Thu 21-Nov-13 21:49:46

I was wondering that tooo, New Choo's plus OSHA ruled the trainers have to be physically seperated from the whales now, so the amazing acrobatic displays won't be pulling crowds in.

Those modules :'(

NewChoos Thu 21-Nov-13 21:54:42

I'm so ashamed to think that when I previously visited sea world (many years ago) I did not give the welfare of the animals enough thought and believed the rescue/environmental stance SW takes. I really hope more people vote with their feet..

HowlingTrap Thu 21-Nov-13 22:10:51

I went to SW in 2005 I was 15 and I remember enjoying the show but simultaneously thinking any second one could just drag you down. Dawn performed.

wierd to think 5 years later she was dead :'(

Although one of the whales ate a tropical bird flying across :O greedy bugger.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Thu 21-Nov-13 22:50:48

NewChoos - I agree. I went when I was 11 and never thought about the welfare of them at all.

The PR spinning was totally shocking. Trying to make it seem it was the trainers fault!

I just don't think this whales are credited with the intelligence they obviously have.

The groups having their own languages? The mother trying out a long range call when her baby was removed? They are simply not entertainment are they?

I always planned to take my children on the typical Florida run an recreate my own favourite childhood holiday but I will never step foot in a Seaworld place again.

HowlingTrap Thu 21-Nov-13 23:04:32

The director made a good point in an interview, just not going almost isn't enough , the more moeny they loose, they'll take it first from the whale thus the pools will get worse, less stimulation, less vetinary etc.

Its a no win.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Thu 21-Nov-13 23:16:36

That's true Howling. I hope more people start looking into this.

The footage of that whale pulling the trainer under but letting him up just in time to breath again, then letting one leg go only to catch the other and pull him down again.... that was the most chilling bit for me. It seemed a very calculated way of showing him who really had the power!

scrappydappydoo Fri 22-Nov-13 00:20:22

So gutted to have missed this - going to see if its on iplayer. We went to Seaworld about 5 years ago and felt really uncomfortable with the animal welfare - it all seemed to be about entertainment with a very thin veil of conservation to legitimise it. We've been back to Florida several times since and have avoided like the plague - people have never understood why. Hopefully documentaries like this can only highlight these issues and parks like Seaworld and other zoos will pay attention.
I don't know if it was said in the documentary but Discovery Cove where you swim with dolphins is run by the same people as Seaworld - so it makes you wonder about the dolphins welfare there.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Fri 22-Nov-13 00:36:53

I've just seen that there is a documentary called The Cove about dolphins Scrappy. It's about how they are caught and sold to marine parks. I don't know if it's aimed at seaworld though. May see if I can track it down.

HesterShaw Fri 22-Nov-13 00:50:41

The Cove was the real masterpiece. Blackfish is the one which is having most impact, because the message ia more direct, but the Cove is the one which kickstarted this whole backlash. You should watch it smile. It's a great piece of cinema as well as everything else

CrockedPot Fri 22-Nov-13 01:23:17

It's on I player.

FixItUpChappie Fri 22-Nov-13 02:50:58

I've seen this and it was veeerrrry disturbing but very well worth a watch.

I think most people have maybe wondered if whales should be a zoo type animal but what I really had given no thought to was the trainers stories. I had NO idea of the danger these marine parks put their staff in. It was pretty indefensible IMO. oh! And the footage they had...unbelievable!!!!! Everything caught on tape - I couldn't believe the footage. Hard to argue with it all played out before your eyes.

I hope some of you come back and tell me what you thought. I was truely genuinely bothered.

mrswarbouys Fri 22-Nov-13 09:26:52

I saw it last night. The negligence and inhumanity that Seaworld management have for their employees is beyond belief. How do these people sleep at night? Good natured, caring young people ripped to pieces by creatures that shouldn't be in tanks in the first place is shrugged off as 'their own fault'.
I too had no idea just how little the trainers actually know about these creatures. As for the lies they are conditioned to tell the public. I really want to be a part of whatever activism their is that will get these barbaric places shut down for good and the management prosecuted. Imagine if this was happening in North Korea or Iran??

The inhumanity of humans is astounding isn't it? sad

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 22-Nov-13 10:28:12

It on iPlayer btw.

With respect to the Cove, Sea Shephard is in Tajji at the moment and they live stream all the slaughter. It really is horrific, and well worth a google if you want to find out more about the wild capture of cetaceans.

HowlingTrap Fri 22-Nov-13 10:40:10

I've watched this twice, showed my mate the trailer other day too and she watched it too and was putting up lots of statuses regarding the film, I'm onlky early 20's and I think its an age range that seems to off the radar for many film docs and afterall we are the next family having generation.

Very disturbing how a Marine Park of hundreds of cameras has 0 evidence of that dukes bloke being killed, very chilling ...oh and a night guard, it did occur to me that as a recently arrested man they were aware and didn't help him the autopsy report his genitals were bitten off and bitten all over :O.

Although 3 fatalities in 20 odd years I am surprised that's all , given the danger. I would be interested to see what the fatality rates/accident rates are in other countries, poorer facilities.

I saw the video last night of the dolphin leaping out of a tank and dying sad the dolphins stick with him watching through the tank.

HesterShaw Fri 22-Nov-13 12:02:23

Seaworld is considered to be one of the "better" ones.

The sad fact is that these places are springing up all over the world, especially in places whose record on animal welfare is not what it could be e.g. in Dubai. There is one in the Canaries which keeps an orca called Morgan. Morgan's story is heartbreaking. As a juvenile she was washed ashore injured in the Netherlands, but her state wasn't bad enough for her either to be euthanised or kept captive for the rest of her life. The Dutch authorities arranged for her to be rescued and treated, and if it had all been done quickly she could have been released in plenty of time for her family to have been found and for her to rejoin them. Instead the Dutch government sold her to the marine park in the Canaries, where her life is one of unrelenting misery. She is currently having to be kept separately from the others as they are harming her, but she is also harming herself. Her teeth are damaged because she is constantly driving herself against the wall of the pool. As time goes on, she will break more and more of her teeth which would mean she could not be released successfully because she wouldn't be able to hunt. Obviously it is in the park's interest for her to damage as much of herself as possible. They wanted her genes for their breeding programme Details here.

Justshabbynochic Fri 22-Nov-13 12:26:52

I watched last night. Heartbreaking, especially the bit where the babies were seperated from the mums. The neuroscientist they had on says that these whales' brains have an additional part than ours that means they have more emotional awareness than we however horrifying we would find it to have our babies ripped away from us, these poor animals probably feel it on a level we can't even grasp.

I went to Seaworld in Texas once, and also was told all the lies about how they've saved whales in the wild, etc.

WowOoo Fri 22-Nov-13 12:34:38

I forgot about this. Thanks for the reminder, I'll see it on iPlayer.

I 'spoilt our holiday' once for refusing to go to SeaWorld with then Dp. Now Dh has come around to my way of thinking.

HesterShaw Fri 22-Nov-13 12:44:10

Well done for spoiling your holiday Wow! More and more people are it seems smile

I'm sure that your average child, once s/he knows the truth, would NEVER go to a place which causes such misery just so they can be entertained. That's what I always say to people who say "Well we went for the children really...don't you try and spoil their kids deserve to go blah blah blah...."

magentastardust Fri 22-Nov-13 12:45:35

I saw it too, it was pretty shocking.

I found the Whale dragging the trainer down to the bottom of the tank and up and down again very disturbing, the trainer handled it so well but the look on his face just before he escaped -as if he was resigned to what was away to happen to him. That wasn't a really quick incident either why did no one help, no one tried to distract the whale with food, it felt like the poor man's last few minutes of life were just being watched.

So awful hearing the SW trainers spouting the lies they had been told about the dorsal fin and the life span , I really felt for them too.

That poor mother whale when her baby was taken from her too -I am another one years ago who visited an never really thought about how the animals were being treated sad

HowlingTrap Fri 22-Nov-13 13:02:45

I'm watching Morgan the killer Whale on youtube :'( in a tank 7X20m smallest captivity tank in the world :'( you can see the floor of the tank its horrible, it looks someone has flooded a gym and stuck a whale in it.

John Selleck being crushed by Tilikum, I had seen that video before but I still Gasp everytime, I would have like to have heard from him, when she said only his wetsuit held him together *vom. poor, poor man.

HowlingTrap Fri 22-Nov-13 13:12:18

I'm Watching Lolita slave to Entertainment now...argh, this doc has made me obsessed!!

Bombus Fri 22-Nov-13 14:04:05

Amazing documentary. I wish it had been shown on BBC1 peak time, so more people could be made aware of the situation. I was in tears when the man was describing how they trapped them in the 70s. So depressing on so many levels.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Fri 22-Nov-13 14:09:28

I'm watching that now Howling sad

Meglet Fri 22-Nov-13 14:18:49

I only saw the last 20 minutes but it confirmed the disgust I feel towards captive whales and dolphins angrysad.

The image of that poor whale cooped up in what is pretty much a pond is such a waste.

Does anyone know what happened to that whale shark that was captured and plonked in the Dubai aquarium? I'm not sure if it died or was still in there?

Meglet Fri 22-Nov-13 14:22:38

Oh, and London Aquarium is pretty grim too. I tolerated walking round it but was getting angrier at each tank. The poor penguins and cayman are just in little boxes with no natural light.

We didn't hang around long in there.

Justshabbynochic Fri 22-Nov-13 16:40:00

I wish they could be released in either the wild if healthy enough or into sea pens. Surely the fat cats at the top have made enough profit......

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Fri 22-Nov-13 16:43:36

There is a petition to help free Lolita here

DS is ill today so we've had a duvet day and I've spent all afternoon reading about whales and campaigns. It's heartbreaking. They are such intelligent creatures.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Fri 22-Nov-13 16:45:26

And if you search whale on there's a fair few petitions to sign. Including one about Tilikum.

I'm under no illusion that this is really helping but it can start to spread the word at least.

HesterShaw Fri 22-Nov-13 17:19:20

Charlie, I think there is so much more awareness now amongst the general public - even within the last 12 months, big strides have been made. Seaworld's revenues have dropped massively, and India has outlawed captive cetacean facilitates, for example. In the UK we haven't had any since the early nineties - our remaining two bottlenose dolphins were freed from their pool in Brighton and taken to the Caribbean. The next step is banning them in EU countries and spreading the word amongst European tourists who make up a huge number of visitors to such places in the Middle East and Asia.

The Cove was a shocking film, but it didn't have the impact Blackfish is having amongst the general public. It was too far "removed" from the end product i.e people didn't connect a bunch of wild eyed madmen in Japan
slaughtering dolphins with Seaworld shows. Blackfish is easier to understand.

FixItUpChappie Fri 22-Nov-13 18:03:51

I was so outraged I wrote SeaWorld an email advising I would never set foot in one of their parks again.

I found it very odd that everyone just watched all these incidents (and deaths) - I mean I feel for the whales - they shouldn't be in this position...but you watch Tilikum kill 2 trainers - no gun, no stun darts, no nothing to help - you just watch??

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 22-Nov-13 18:12:09

no gun, no stun darts, no nothing to help

As far as I know cetaceans are incredibly resilient. I believe that to kill them requires explosives or stabbing them repeatedly.

HowlingTrap Fri 22-Nov-13 18:22:24

I don't think you can sedate whales can you?

I agree I think BBC1 would have been a good forum for this.

I Thought the cove seemed to focus a lot on the food side of things too mislabelling food, mercury poisioning, we don't eat dolphin etc over here seems far too removed I agree, I think the slaughtering etc also effects how palatable it is too the mass public. So less people will watch it, I felt like I was watching a snuff film to some degree.

HesterShaw Fri 22-Nov-13 18:34:59

In my opinion, the Cove seemed more gory than it actually was. The very distressing scenes were mainly only towards the end and throughout much if the film, they were kind of hinted at more than anything. And I thought the climax, when Ric O'Barry walked through the IWC conference wearing a tv screen showing the slaughter was masterful.

Even now, however, the IWC remain uninterested in dolphins and porpoises and so the slaughter continues.

GlitterStag Fri 22-Nov-13 19:13:47

Apparently Lolita's Mother is still alive and resident off the coast of Washington. She is estimated to be in her eighties. Heartbreaking.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Fri 22-Nov-13 19:24:10

I saw that GlitterStag. It seems she would be very easy to release but they just won't do it. 30 years of service and she's still not earned her freedom sad

I think the worst thing is that they are very very social. The pods have their own 'languages' that set them apart from each other. Yet they are held sometimes completely alone and sometimes with others that hold no familial connection. That just seems overly cruel given their nature.

womma Fri 22-Nov-13 21:08:01

I've just watched it. What a brilliantly well done documentary. I'm now feeling terrible for taking DD to the Aquarium for her birthday.

Free Tilli! And all the other captives.

HowlingTrap Sat 23-Nov-13 10:45:30

And the fact the tanks are Illegal! I was gobsmacked at how that is allowed to continue.

The morgan whale tank, the floor is in line with the viewing window :'(

HowlingTrap Sat 23-Nov-13 10:53:13

I think I'm gonna rewatch the The Cove I seem to have forgotten bits, I saw it when it came out when I was 19.

Also,...I think its easier to mentally dismiss the Cove more as we are aware already that eastern countries have poor animal welfare records, so some people will be like ...."Is this news?" cynical face.

HesterShaw Sat 23-Nov-13 10:58:14

Yes but remember that the people changing Japanese attitudes are Japanese.

GlitterStag Sat 23-Nov-13 14:31:30

I'm going to watch the 'Lolita, Slave to Entertainment' on Youtube.

It isn't just the Orcas at Seaworld, either. The Pilot Whales, Belugas, Dolphins, Polar Bears, all have hopelessly cramped pools / enclosures.

HowlingTrap Sun 24-Nov-13 10:18:59

I was reading about Marineland , Canada last night just horrific.

HesterShaw Sun 24-Nov-13 12:30:44

Canada's record on animal welfare and tge environment completely sucks, despite their wild and green reputation.

HowlingTrap Sun 24-Nov-13 19:43:36

Yeah apparently the laws are much more lax compared to America.

juneau Wed 27-Nov-13 13:14:03

Watched this last night - it's heartbreaking. The bits where they were hunting the whales and when they took the babies away were awful sad

That so many former SeaWorld trainers were prepared to go on record and say what they did speaks volumes about this corporate, money-making machine. I will never take my kids there. If they want to visit killer whales I'll take them to see them in the wild.

HowlingTrap Wed 27-Nov-13 14:16:31

I'm ashamed to admit I've gotten a bit obsessed after seeing that.

been reading a lot about it, I've asked my DH for the book, re-watched the cove.
Reading about places like Miami Seaquarium and Marineland sad deplorable conditions, a newspaper did an investigation recently.

I think it would interesting if BBC 4 did a season on this topic.

WowOoo Wed 27-Nov-13 14:26:00

I finally watched this. It was brilliantly and I think quite fairly done.
I agree Juneau - I thought there were so many ex-employees willing to talk. It does say a lot about the organisation.

I've also done some internet searching. I'm interested in why the majority of captive orcas have a floppy dorsal fin. Very few in the wild do.

Made me glad I refused to go to SeaWorld all those years ago.
Lots more to watch and to read. Thanks!

Thurlow Wed 27-Nov-13 15:24:48

I'm just watching it now when I should be working

Those trainers - I feel sorry for them, it seems that SeaWorld & co did a job on them, hiring these young trainers, feeding them a line about the whales, not telling them the truth. It comes across that those trainers were genuinely trying to look after the whales and believed in a connection that wasn't there.

The clip of that trainer being repeated pulled underneath shock That poor man, that was just horrible watch (though it's important these things are shown). And the idea that SeaWorld tried to say afterwards that it showed how well trained their staff were!!!

I swam with dolphins about 10 years ago now. I wish I hadn't. I'll never go back to a park like that again. We don't have animals in circuses on land anymore, why does anyone think it is different for whales and sea lions? sad

HowlingTrap Sat 30-Nov-13 22:27:54

Read about Marineland to see how Seals/Sealions faire in captivity sad

Interestingly in a John Hargrove/Gabriela Cowperthwaite Interview on Youtube , John revealed the seals/lions at their parks suffer similar fates and says the conditions are 'deplorable' apparently the trainers too old to work with whales are put there.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sun 01-Dec-13 00:53:44

I agree Thurlow, the trainers really do care about them. I've been googling too and found a few videos of the whales there and the trainers talking about spending time with them etc.

Obviously they're all very spun to the park's viewpoint, but for example in this one you can see just how many staff have come in specially for her giving birth and how excited they are.

HowlingTrap Sun 01-Dec-13 08:42:22

Barenaked ladies have cancelled their gig at SW haven't they? I almost feel bad for them, everything is snowballing quite fast.

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