The Issue Of Animal Captivity In The Blackfish Documentary

Ancient times saw the beginning of animal domestication. Ancient Egyptians domesticated cats as companions and livestock to use for agriculture. It was the earliest example of animal confinement. Over time, animal forms have undergone radical changes. Animal captivity has evolved to be used as a form of entertainment. We visit the Zoo to see endangered species. SeaWorld is our destination for Shamu orca shows. And swimming with dolphins ranks high on everyone’s list. All these activities share one commonality: the captive of wild animals. Many people think that animals have no brain development like humans. Animals exist to feed and provide other types of services for man. Others are totally against this idea. Animals can be said to have feelings and emotions. Animals have a right to live their lives in the wild without any human interference. If we disturb wild animals who are in their own habitats, and it is not for self-defense or survival, that’s animal cruelty. Since 1983, Tilikum has killed three people. Tilikum is a wild animal that was captured and held in Iceland. It’s only natural for him to develop aggressive behaviors after all this time. Wild animals have a natural instinct to roam free, and so they can never be content in captivity. Tilikum also felt trapped. His constant harassment by other whales and his close proximity made the situation worse. The close proximity of the other whales made him feel trapped, and this caused him aggressive tendencies that led to his death. Documentation shows that killer whales have not killed humans when in the wilderness, but the documentary does not state this in its entirety.

SeaWorld claims that orcas kept in captivity live longer than their wild counterparts. They can be cared for when sick and are not at risk from other predators. The documentary seems to disagree, stating that wild orcas have a longer lifespan than those in captivity.

SeaWorld declined to take part in the documentary. That would have meant that the film did not present SeaWorld as it should be. This makes it hard to verify the accuracy of the entire information presented in the Blackfish documentary. CNN stated that the company was misinformed, inaccurate and exploiting public opinion on this tragedy. The company claims that the film helps with conservation and rehabilitation of wild animals. They think that giving care to injured or sick wild animals will increase their chance of survival, because they can be treated by best veterinarians. The opinion expressed here is correct in theory, but it is not clear how animals came to be in such a state and how much of their problems are caused by being kept in captivity.

Despite the fact that people’s opinions changed after this film was released, there were more negative effects than positive. Animal rights activists supported the blackfish movie and called on people to boycott SeaWorld. The documentary caused many celebrity musicians and singers who were to perform at SeaWorld events to cancel their performances. Although this doesn’t mean the people in question were completely in agreement with SeaWorld, they may have just decided to cancel their performance because they didn’t want SeaWorld to lose any of their loyal fans. SeaWorld, which is at the heart of all the controversy surrounding the film, has undoubtedly been affected by these statements.

Former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove writes a book about his experiences. He tells a story of Tilikum attacking her trainer. SeaWorld denies the graphic details that he provides. Hargrove accuses SeaWorld of not having compassion for orcas. Inbreeding the animals is cruel. This results in whales that look completely different than the ones found in nature. John says that SeaWorld won’t stop his advocacy against the company.

Every story has two sides. The truth, however, lies somewhere between them. The blackfish raises controversial issues. The information in documentaries is often persuasive. This does not mean that the information is incorrect. Although this may seem like the absolute truth, it is not. Individuals should not assume anything and should instead continue to investigate the matter. There will be those that will no longer visit SeaWorld due to the documentary. Other people may go looking for more information. Finally, some will care less if the captive orcas seem happy as long the they get their entertainment.


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Sammarco, P. P. W., Atchison, A. D., Brazeau, D. A., Boland, G. S., Lirette, A., Sinclair, J., … & Duncan, L. (2009, November).

SESSION 3B PLATFORMS AND NATURAL HARD-BOTTOM ECOLOGY II. In Proceedings of Twenty Fifth Gulf of Mexico Information Transfer Meeting.


  • paulwallace

    Paul Wallace is a 44-year-old anthropology professor and blogger. He has been writing about anthropology and other topics for over a decade. He has also taught anthropology at the college level for over a decade.

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