I just finished watching the documentary Blackfish. Following the life of one male Killer Whale, Tilikum, the documentary reveals a plethora of shocking information about Sea World and it’s practices. I can say with absolute certainty that I will never visit Sea World nor will my family.
The first scene that made my heart bleed was the eyewitness testimony of John Crowe, a diver who took part in baby round ups of Killer Whales in the 1970’s. These hunts took place with the express purpose of capturing baby whales for captivity and show. Using a combination of speedboats, nets, bombs, and aircraft, wild pods of whales were basically herded and corralled into coves, surrounded by nets, and physically exhausted. Once exhausted the baby whales are removed from the pod and shipped away. John Crowe, when recounting his first experience of a hunt, expresses it’s emotional impact on him and the whales he was capturing:
Well I lost it. And I just started crying. I didn’t stop working, but I . . . you know I . . . just couldn’t handle it. It’s like kidnapping a little kid away from it’s mother. Everybody’s watching, what can you do? It’s the worst thing I can think of, you know, I can’t think of anything worse than that. Now this really sounds bad, but when the whole hunt was over there three dead whales in the net. And uh . . . so they had Peter, and Brian, and I cut the whales open . . . fill ’em with rocks, put anchors on their tale and sink ’em. Well . . . you know . . . really I didn’t even think about it being illegal at that point, I thought it was a PR thing. I’ve been part of a revolution to change a president in Central and South America, and seen some things that’s hard to believe, but this is the worst thing that I’ve ever done, is hunt that whale.
And PR is exactly what Sea World excels at. The whole movie is filled with story after story of Sea World covering up and distorting the truth about exactly what they have to do to whales to keep their show running and bringing in cash.
How sad it is that so often we will cast aside our compassionate common sense under the duress of monetary gain. Not only has this movie made me certain that I will never visit a Sea World or it’s ilk ever in my life, it has also cast doubt over whether or not I will visit a zoo ever again either. In fact, I felt ashamed, as a Druid who has committed himself to a better relationship with the other beings who share this planet with me, that I had not come to this conclusion on my own.
I urge you to watch this documentary and give it some serious thought. If you are a pagan or a Druid it is simply a must see. It is currently playing on Netflix “play instant”.