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“Blackfish”–A Whale of a Tale


Even if you are not a PETA member, you will be moved by  “Blackfish“, in which SeaWorld captures and trains killer whales, also known as orcas, in captivity.  The SeaWorld parks in Florida (with a brief filming in San Diego) are the center of this compelling film.  An unflinching portrayal of the brutal misconduct of the SeaWorld corporation towards the orcas, “Blackfish”   also reveals the betrayal felt by the young, enthusiastic whale-loving trainers.  Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s use of interviews and  archival footage presents almost irrefutable evidence against the company , resulting in several lawsuits.

images “Blackfish” belongs in the same category as “Project Nim”, a 2011 documentary about a 1970’s experiment on a chimpanzee for US academic research and “The Cove”, a film about the slaughter of dolphins in Japanese waters.  All three documentaries deliver  gruesome and horrific details of  the blatant human torture of animals.  While “The Cove” features boats trapping dolphins to slaughter them for market, “Blackfish” and “Project Nim” both feature animals used for human entertainment or purported research.

Cowperthwaite began work on the film after the death of  an experienced trainer by an orca while performing in the popular Shamu show.   Documentaries can still create change — and for SeaWorld the perception of  theme parks is forever changed by this film. Overall attendance at SeaWorld parks and Busch Gardens declined by 5% in the first nine months of 2013.   In response to the film, Senator  Greg Ball proposed legislation in New York to ban keeping orcas in captivity.  In March assemblyman Richard Bloom also introduced the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, a bill in California that would ban entertainment-driven killer whale captivity and retire all current whales, but now the legislation is in jeopardy due, in part,  to the SeaWorld lawsuit against this controversial film.  (

Note: This film is available through Netflix and on CNN’s website.


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