One of the questions that was bouncing around in my head was ‘what does SeaWorld have to say about the documentary’? I looked around online and found an interview on the CNN website with SeaWorld’s Vice President of Communications Fred Jacobs. His main statement about the documentary was,
“Blackfish is billed as a documentary, but instead of a fair and balanced treatment of a complex subject, the film is inaccurate and misleading and, regrettably, exploits a tragedy that remains a source of deep pain for Dawn Brancheau’s family, friends and colleagues. To promote its bias that killer whales should not be maintained in a zoological setting, the film paints a distorted picture that withholds from viewers key facts about SeaWorld — among them, that SeaWorld is one of the world’s most respected zoological institutions, that SeaWorld rescues, rehabilitates and returns to the wild hundreds of wild animals every year, and that SeaWorld commits millions of dollars annually to conservation and scientific research. Perhaps most important, the film fails to mention SeaWorld’s commitment to the safety of its team members and guests and to the care and welfare of its animals, as demonstrated by the company’s continual refinement and improvement to its killer whale facilities, equipment and procedures both before and after the death of Dawn Brancheau.”
SeaWorld’s response made me question the integrity of the Blackfish documentary. So I looked farther on in the interview with CNN asking questions that were more in depth about specifically Orcas. CNN did a really great job of asking questions I think that most viewers of Blackfish wanted to ask if they had the chance.
The main question that I asked myself after the interview was does the information that we learn about Orcas by keeping them in captivity outweigh the rights of the Orcas to live in the wild? CNN asks a similar question, “Many marine biologists and animal ethicists believe that orcas should not be kept in captivity because they are designed to travel hundreds of miles each day. Do you think the exposure that SeaWorld provides to millions of people who might not otherwise see a killer whale outweighs these concerns about impact of captivity on orcas?” SeaWorld’s response was,
“While a killer whale can and occasionally might travel as much as 100 miles in a day, it should be said that swimming that distance is not integral to a whale’s health and well- being. It is likely foraging behavior. Given the challenge of finding and killing as much as 300 pounds of prey every day, killer whales in the wild — like any species — conserve energy and move only as much as necessary. Killer whales living in our parks are given all the food they require. They also exercise, receive veterinary care, live in the company of other members of their species, and receive mental stimulation. They adapt very well to life in a zoological setting. I should also note that the overwhelming majority of killer whales in our parks were born in the care of man.”
The last question that CNN asked and I think that we are all asking ourselves is, “How is SeaWorld’s current park attendance compared to last year? Whether you’ve seen an incline or a decline, what do you attribute that to?” They respond, “Our attendance is good. In fact, we are on pace for a record year in 2013.” I find this a little hard to believe so I clicked on the link that SeaWorld provided to see their sales by the link was down and took me to a website that was not functioning. Suspicious much?
You can find the interview by clicking the link below: