Why "Blackfish" Is A Crock: A Bit Of Truth About SeaWorld From A Former Employee

Why "Blackfish" Is A Crock: A Bit Of Truth About SeaWorld From A Former Employee

I'm not an expert on whale psychology, but neither is Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
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Disclaimer: I'm not an expert. I didn't personally work with the whales. I worked in attractions.

I am educated enough (and have enough common sense) to realize that a Fortune 500 company (not to mention a much-beloved theme park) could not work "under the radar" and abuse its animals to the degree presented in Gabriela Cowperthwaite's 2013 "documentary," "Blackfish."

It's obvious that an animal living in captivity will be limited in its environment; that's what captivity is. And I don't necessarily believe that Tilikum should be a sperm donor (although I haven't studied the genetic correlation between aggression in Orcinus orca from parent to offspring). Whether or not it's agreed that their captive environments harm the whales, it should be agreed that "Blackfish" is propaganda, and nothing but. The way that this "documentary" was organized was purposeful in its intention to cause the viewer to confuse Sealand and SeaWorld as the same company (when they are in fact a type of polar opposite). With ignorance, "Blackfish" only chooses to reveal the dark past of SeaWorld. For those who think that SeaWorld has tried to hide their past, they haven't. Any simple Google search will bring up the history of the park and the strides that it has taken, along with the acknowledgement of their past mistakes, to preserve and keep their marine animals in greatest comfort (by the way, many of these studies have posted dates before the release of "Blackfish"). The simple fact is that most of the claims in "Blackfish" are blatant lies. To correct a few of these lies:

SeaWorld does not, and has never, blamed trainer Dawn Brancheau for her death.

The park has not collected an orca from the wild in over 35 years.

Tilikum does not spend his days isolated. He performs in shows like One Ocean, is housed with his grandson Trua, and interacts with park guests from his habitat.

SeaWorld's orcas are housed in exterior habitats.

"Blackfish" had access to the truth from SeaWorld. Cowperthwaite asked for interviewers to be sent to SeaWorld to question them. They were presented with the truth about orca care, they just chose not to use it.

While many former trainers have spoken out against SeaWorld, these trainers spent limited time employed at the park for multiple reasons. Other experienced veteran trainers have nothing but praise for SeaWorld and disgust for "Blackfish."

The theme park has a bright future. Before the studies of marine animal psychology, experts had little to no idea how captivity affected these creatures. Now that there are extensive studies on how to keep these performing animals comfortable, don't you think SeaWorld is taking great strides to make sure that the proper care is given to their orcas?

As stated in my disclaimer, I'm not an expert on this subject. I can't dazzle you with statistics, and I can't share insider information on the dimensions of the whales' habitats, or the quality of their diet as compared to the quality of a wild orca's diet. What I can provide you with is the knowledge that SeaWorld does not (and would not ever) secretly abuse their whales. SeaWorld does not actively seek to promote or condone animal abuse. If anything, the company seeks to promote and condone animal preservation. I can't begin to tell you how many formerly injured species have found homes at Turtle Trek or Dolphin Cove.

Let's think logically: do we truly think that a theme park, filled to the brim with families and celebrities seven days a week, nearly every day of the year, could pull off the abuse of their performance animals? These whales (and sea lions, otters and dolphins) are seen by the public each day. Do we not think that the audience would notice an animal in severe distress (I'm not talking about the dorsal fin thing, which even in the wild can be attributed to multiple factors)? As a public audience, let's not give in to the mass hysteria that is "Blackfish." It is propaganda, presented with just enough organization and intelligence to get the American public to buy it.

Cover Image Credit: Ytimg

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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5 Reasons It's Always Worth It To Be A Summer Camp Counselor

Summer camps have a special place in my heart, and I'm here to share that with you.

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Since I was 15, I have been a counselor at various summer camps. I have been a Program Aide at Girl Scout camp, a counselor at church camp, and a counselor at a day camp. These were all camps that I attended as a kid, so they already had a special place in my heart when I got a chance to work at them.

After being a camp counselor for five years, there are things that I have learned on the job that has helped me in life. Being a counselor has also helped me grow as a person. It's helped me gain skills that I don't think I would have learned in other jobs. I'm here to share what I love about the job of being a camp counselor.

1. You get to be the leader/role model

As a kid, there were many counselors in my life that I looked up to. They were people that I strived to be alike in my life, but now that I'm older, I get to be that person for the kid. What I say and do will influence how the kids around me act. That comes with a lot of stress, but it's also empowering. You can be a positive influence in a kids life, and hopefully, teach them important life lessons.

2. You can be your goofy self

One thing that I love about working with kids is that I can be silly around them. Kids won't judge you for being silly because they're silly right alongside you. They feed off your energy, and it can help them explore the world around them through communication. Plus, when was it not fun to be silly?

3. You get to hang out with kids all day

This reason might turn people off from the job, but it's a part of why I love being a counselor. Hanging out with kids tires me out at times, but they also motivate me to keep going. They're little balls of energy, and I feed off of other people's energies well. The kids also help me feel youthful and like nothing matters. Everything is fun to them; they help me keep a positive outlook on life.

4. Your coworkers become your best friends

Working at a summer camp can be difficult at times. It's emotionally and physically draining as well. But having a good support team helps with that. The counselors that I have worked with in the past have become my best friends, and I still stay in touch with some. They're there for you when no one else is, and they understand what you're going through. You know that their feelings for you are genuine, and they want to help as much as they can.

5. You get to watch the kids grow

Over the summer, I get to see the same kids every week at my camp. I get to see them grow as people over the summer and it's a rewarding experience knowing that I was able to help them. Watching them become leaders and grow into little helpers by the end of the summer is one of my favorite things.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to work at a summer camp again this year. I know that it'll provide an opportunity to grow as a person and I can't wait to see my favorite kids again.

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