PSA: Whales

My husband and I watched Blackfish on Netflix last week.

I completely and highly recommend this documentary. ESPECIALLY if you are planning and hoping and saving to take your family to Sea World. I will admit first and foremost that I have been to Sea World San Diego three times. Growing up in Southern California, it’s just something you did. My first sea park was actually Marine Land in PV. That park shut down, San Diego was the next closest. My mom took me when I was a kid. It was a surprise trip, and I was amazed by the whole thing. I loved it! I was 12, what the hell did I know? The killer whales were mesmerizing and completely awe-inspiring. I remember having scary dreams of deep deep deeeeep pools with giant black fish swimming beneath me soon after.

Slightly terrifying considering my already healthy fear of deep water & sharks.

I went again with my husband before we moved away from California, and then once more with my son and two step daughters when I was six months pregnant. That time I even won a giant killer whale at the ring toss. (who knew that actually happens?!)

We happened to go soon after the trainer, Dawn Brancheau, was killed by Tilicum. There was a noticeable difference in the killer whale show. I found it sad and had I known what little interaction there would be, probably would have thought twice about going. You go for the spectacular voyeurism of a human swimming with a giant apex predator, afterall.

After seeing the documentary, it shakes you out of the marketing coma Sea World has programmed into your brain. Between the happy park commercials and all the conservation sweet talk, you really believe this organization is in it for the care and conservation of animals.

Not true.

Not true at all. They are a business like any other. However, you do not see Coca Cola opening The Polar Experience.

“Come watch our trainers feed themselves to these kidnapped polar bears. Watch them get tossed and chewed upon at a ridiculously high entrance fee. But wait! Don’t forget to overpay for your stuffed kidnapped killer! Don’t let your child go to sleep without his stuffed Apex Predator. Look! It even comes with a detachable body part.”

I can’t imagine that would sell very well to anyone except mob families.

So yes. I admit first and foremost I was duped into believing in the facade. Isn’t that the name of Sea World’s killer whale show? Believe.

I believe they are full of whale poop and should be ashamed of themselves.

I am all for patronizing zoos and wild animal parks. IF and that is a caps on IF the park is responsible in the keeping and care and enclosures of their animals. There is no way to ensure your children will understand what conservation even is unless you show them what it is that needs protection. There’s a purpose and a place for responsible animal parks.

No one is making those tigers and lions dance and splash and abandon their offspring in exchange for an alien landscape with little to no natural species interaction.

I vehemently oppose animal-act-based circuses. It’s not a natural environment for those animals and it isn’t a fair life. If you did it to a human, it would be inhumane. It’s no different for that elephant.

Sea World is a large, wet, smelly circus that specializes in misinformation, smoke and mirrors. … and fish. Stinky dead squid and fish they let you buy to throw at the dolphins.

If you are at all an admirer of animals, from up close or a distance, I highly recommend and challenge you to see this film and see if it doesn’t change they way you look at that company.

*steps off soapbox*

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