What You Can Do!

save the whales

After watching the documentary I was left with the question of how can I help? I am sure a lot of you reading are also wondering how you can help, especially after viewing my blog. So what I did was look at numerous amounts of websites to compile together the difference ways that you can make a difference. I laid out some easy ways that anyone can help, and also included some options that are a little harder, but very doable if you can donate your time and money.

1. The first and most important thing that you can do is to not support marine mammal parks, such as SeaWorld. It is very important to not financially support marine mammal parks, because they are a business and their money flow needs to be cut off.

2. Spread awareness via social media, such as Facebook; the more people that you can tell the better, even if you start small and use word of mouth to tell your friends and family. You can also share the documentary ‘Blackfish’. You can even host a screening party with your friends and family.

3. Contact SeaWorld and tell them how you fell! You can email, write, call and send messages to their Facebook page. To contact them you can visit their “contact us” on the SeaWorld’s website, or email them at at corp.community@seaworld.com or corp.communications@seaworld.com.

4. Educate yourself! The more you know about Orcas and captivity the better! There is a lot to learn about to advocate for these magnificent mammals, such as animal welfare regulations, marine-mammal veterinary care, survival tactics, federal legislation, ect. Some resources that are helpful are Blackfish, 7 Reasons Orcas and Captivity Don’t Mix, The Killer in the Pool, Killer Controversy: Why orcas should no longer be kept in captivity, and Death at SeaWorld.

5. Reach out to an Anti-Captivity group. You can donate your time or money to helping these organizations. Ways that you help are event planning, fundraising, petition drives, volunteer office or accounting work, publicizing on social media, ect. There are so many nonprofit organizations that are out there working on improving conditions for captive orcas, and are trying to work towards the orcas release to a sea sanctuary, and the ocean (in few cases). Some organizations that you can help: Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Animal Welfare Insitute, Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Society International.

6. Lobby Your Government. You can contact your Congressman and inform them that you would like them to not support Marine Mammal captivity.

7. Protest! You can make your voice heard with a peaceful protest outside of captive-orca facilities, and hand out flyers to people going in and out, or hold up posters.

 8. Buy stock in SeaWorld so you can attend stockholders meetings. At the meetings you can express your position. PETA has been a part of this option.

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Positivity Surround ‘Blackfish’

©2013 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

This film has sparked a lot of conversation and the reception of this documentary has been very positive! This can be seen on numerous credible rating websites, such as Rotten Tomatoes. Even the animation film Finding Dory has revised its depiction of marine parks after the directors watched the documentary.

This article from the Los Angeles Times, written by Amy Kaufman on August 9, 2013 talks about how Pixar’s directors of Finding Dory, will possibly make a change in its film as a result of viewing the Documentary. The directors meet with Gabriela Cowperthwaite to discuss more in depth about their changes to their script. Pixar has not officially commented on this issue.

Below is a link to the Los Angeles Times article about Pixar’s Finding Dory changes:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-blackfish-seaworld-finding-dory-pixar-20130808,0,7662071.story#axzz2kUnyUT3n

SeaWorld’s Response to ‘Blackfish’ from CNN

seaworld

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:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/21/us/seaworld-blackfish-qa/

What Does SeaWorld’s Offical Website Reveal??

seaworlds response

I was very curious as to what SeaWorld had to offer after reading everything about Orca’s rights.  So what I did was I went on their website to see how they contribute to the community, if at all. I did find that they said on their ‘How We Care’ page on their website,

“This commitment to animals reaches around the world. SeaWorld Parks&Entertainment   supports conservation programs and also operates one of the world’s most respected  wildlife rescue programs. In cooperation with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld has helped animals in need—ill, injured, orphaned, and abandoned—for more than four decades.  More than 22,000 animals have been rescued by the park’s animal experts. The goal of the program is to rehabilitate the return these animals to the wild.”

The last line left me a little perplexed; it says that the goal of their program is to rehabilitate then return animals to the wild. Although this is a little hard to believe because they are breading Orca Whales in captivity and these mammals will never be let into the wild. Also the Orcas that they do have to bred were there in the first place because they were captured not ill, injured, orphaned, or abandoned, as SeaWorld’s website states. So after this I tried to explore their website more in depth to find out more about how they help the Orcas. I looked in the Science and Research and the information that I did find about how captivity of Orcas was helping science and contributing to research was that they use the births of the Orcas in captivity to lead to scientific discoveries. They use the animals born in the parks to study development and growth rates. They also state that their scientists at the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Reproductive Center were the first in the world to successfully develop artificial insemination in killer whales, as well as bottlenose and Pacific white-sided dolphins, and beluga whales.

http://seaworldentertainment.com/en/How-We-Care/Welcome

Blackfish Official Trailer

Blackfish is a documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. It premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on January 19th, 2013, and was released in the United States on July 19th, 2013. This documentary focuses on the captivity of the Killer Whale Tilikum, and the consequences of keeping these large and intelligent animals in captivity. Tilikum is owned by SeaWorld and is still in captivity to this day from his capture in 1983. He has been involved in three deaths since he has been in captivity (it is important to note that there is no record of death by Orca Whale attacks in the wild). The documentary explains this and says that Tilikum likely was involved in the killing because he is under a lot stress from being in captivity, from being left in small, dark tanks for hours, and from the other female Orcas in the tank attacking him. It is also important to note that SeaWorld claimed whales live longer in captivity, which the film argues is false. Orcas can live up to 80 years according to Vancouver Aquarium.

I personally loved the documentary because it was very captivating. It definitely proved the point it was trying to make, and helped to bring awareness to the problems that Marine Parks have. If I had not seen this documentary, and its discourse around it, I would not have known anything about Marine Parks and what SeaWorld really stands for.