Students from Mr. O's Youth Activism elective class recently viewed and wrote about the documentary film, Blackfish. This documentary traces the history of Tilikum, an orca, held by SeaWorld and how his captivity in SeaWorld led to the controversy today over captive killer whales. In this blog, our young activist students respond to quotes from the film.
"When we first started ,they were quite small, quite young, so they fit in there quite nicely, but they were immobile for the most part. It didn't feel good, it just didn't. And it was just wrong." Steve Huxter, former director of Sealand, speaking about the living conditions of the orcas during non-performance hours.
The above quote from the documentary film Blackfish is one that especially pulls on my heartstrings. It just…hurts…to hear the people who train, love, and act as a replacement parent to these orcas describe such huge animals as a sort of puppy or kitten, vulnerable and scared. And in a way, “killer whale” are puppies or kittens, taken away from their moms and susceptible to the world for the first time. And people feel sorry for strays. If people love or feel any sympathy for animals, why are they focusing on an animal left behind, when they could be noticing orcas who are forcefully ripped from their parents, with death a complete possibility?
“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”-Marilyn Monroe
Lace Jute Tulip
“If that is true, it’s not only inhumane and I’ll tell them so, but it probably led to what I think is a psychosis. He was on the hair trigger to kill.” Ken Balcomb, director, Centre for Whale Research, about the storage and living conditions of orcas at SeaWorld
Based on this quote, I believe that one of the conditions that is making the orca abnormal is the environment in which they are currently living in. This leads to the upsetting the orcas and causing stress by how they are used and controlled. They show their feelings through aggression by hurting/killing trainers. Orcas are merely saying; “This is how we feel when you take us, orcas away from our families and our homeland. We are mad about how unfair you treat us, like we are your pets! We want to go back to our homeland and out of captivity in Seaworld.” -Castle Alien Oil
"When you look into their eyes, you know someone is home, somebody’s looking back. You form a very personal relationship with your animal.” John Jett, former SeaWorld trainer
I believe that this quote is inferring that orcas have feelings and will connect with people. Since orcas have feelings, they can suffer. They are probably depressed because of their captivity in basically bathtubs that don’t let them swim freely. Because orcas have feelings and are taken from their mothers, they will live a life of sadness. All this probably causes frustration and who do the orcas take it out on? The people they actually connect with because they are the ones who take care of them. Unfortunately, orca whales are not treated right and the people who make connections with these amazing animals suffer the most.
- Carter Romos
"If you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don’t you think you’d get a little irritated, aggravated, maybe a little psychotic?” animal activist, CNN Special
This quote from the film Blackfish, a documentary film about Seaworld and their captive killer whales, is explaining what bathtub feels like for more than ¼ of your life. Wouldn't you want out?! What Seaworld and other amusement parks are doing to these beautiful and graceful creatures is so wrong in so many ways. You wouldn't want to be in those tanks, so why should they? Why should these innocent animals not be able to ever see their family again, nor be able to swim freely in the ocean where there is infinite places to go?
-Abaci Nail Wild.
"It’s just like kidnapping a little kid from its mother, everybody’s watching, what can you do? It’s the worst thing I can think of, I can’t think of anything worse than that.” John Crowe, diver, speaking about catching orcas in Puget Sound.
This quote from the film, Blackfish, means that the orcas get “kidnapped”, but no one stands up for it. In human situations, I believe at least 50% of society would physically attempt to stop the kidnapping. The other 50% wouldn’t want to get involved. Kidnapping in this case means that the orca is forced to leave its normal life and suffer throughout rest of their life. While people are watching them perform, they have no idea that they’ve been through a rough time. The baby killer whales don’t get enough support to stop people from using them for entertainment. If the whales can eventually get back into the ocean, they have a less chance of finding their relatives.
-Loan razz glue
"It’s culture, you get back on the horse and you dive back in the water. And if you’re hurt, well, then we’ve got other people that will replace you and you’ve come a long way. You sure you want that?” John Jett, former SeaWorld trainer.
"I’ve been expecting it since the second person was killed. I’ve been expecting it, for somebody to be killed by Tilikum. I’m surprised it took as long as it did.” John Jett, former SeaWorld trainer
This quote from the documentary Blackfish is about a trainer who was expecting a killing from one of these killer whales because they were in captivity forever. Even the closest people to the whales are expecting this too for sometime because there is no space for them to get away if they are being attacked by other orcas.
-Mae Neon Otter
"All whales in captivity have a bad life. They’re all emotionally destroyed; they’re all psychologically traumatized, so they’re a ticking time bomb. It’s not just Tilikum.” Lori Marino, neuroscientist
This quote from the documentary Blackfish is explaining how whales are left in such an awful state resulting from being kept in captivity. It’s like going to the mall and plucking people up, throwing them into van and keeping them isolated in a small bathroom with a couple of other people who don’t speak the same language as them, while asking them to perform every now and then. You’re going to be left physiologically crippled, your emotions are obliterated, you’re traumatized. You’re left with so much anger and agony, you’re bound to hurt someone. That’s what orca whales kept in captivity are going through. All of them are left with emotional sores. How could anyone enjoy a life like that? It’s cruel, inhumane and ridiculous to keep them like this.