“There is no record of an orca doing any harm to a human in the wild.”
Despite not being the world’s greatest animal lover, I remember being fascinated by the gorgeous killer whale during my childhood. I recall one of the incidents that a trainer had with these animals when I was young, but I thought it was just part of the perks of working with wild animals. Ever since, I believed these were dangerous animals. I also found myself on SeaWorld’s side believing that they were offering us an amazing opportunity to see these animals up close, while at the same time domesticating them. I never believed these animals were suffering from captivity or anything of the sort. I was just as blind as the former trainers who are in this wonderful documentary sharing their experiences. Gabriela Cowperthwaite delivers a carefully constructed case in Blackfish by giving evidence that these animals are not only intelligent beings, but highly emotional and social as well. She convinced me with her forensic and detailed evidence that the attacks like the one in SeaWorld weren’t simply part of a working hazard, but provoked by the inhumane treatment these orcas receive in captivity. There is no doubt in my mind now that these attacks are a direct result of their captivity. Gabriela sort of ruined my childhood memories, but she accomplishes her purpose and convinced me not to support SeaWorld. Blackfish succeeds in that regard because it accomplished its purpose and was effective in my case.
Most of the time documentaries can be interesting although dull, but Blackfish is just as entertaining as it is informative. I was hooked from the very opening scene and I never felt bored during the interviews or the footage. Cowperthwaite’s case might be one sided and biased, but it isn’t her fault that SeaWorld didn’t want to participate in the making of this film. Having these former whale trainers share their experience, while watching their footage with the whales was effective as well. They’ve all had a change of heart because you can tell they actually love these animals and most of them established an emotional connection with them. I wonder what present day trainers will think of this after watching all the compelling evidence presented here. Not only does Gabriela point out that these animals are highly emotional and social, but she also reminds us that these animals have never attacked anyone in the wild, they live much longer lives in the wild than in captivity, and that it isn’t normal that their fins drag to their sides like most of the whales in SeaWorld. The only evidence she introduces which I would debate was when she mentions that Tilikum’s (one of Seaworld’s biggest whales) offspring could acquire that learned aggression towards humans, but scientists have proven it’s not the case. The documentary is very aggressive and it is effective in sending out the message and provoking a reaction in the audience. I will admit that there are also some tearful moments in this documentary as well. Blackfish makes its case and does so effectively.