Blackfish: Sparking the Discussion on the Ethics of Holding Animals in Captivity

As children, many people have visited places that hold wild animals in captivity like aquariums and zoos. Millions of people each year go to places like Seaworld that have breathtaking displays of animals that we rarely get to see. The intrigue of seeing exotic creatures without the danger of encountering them in the wild is thrilling and has been a part of many people’s lives in western history for hundreds of years.

BLACKFISH

Only a few weeks ago, a documentary called Blackfish was released. It addresses the death of a young woman who was employed by Seaworld as a trainer. She died on the job when she was attacked by a killer whale in 2010.  The film attempts to give a psychological history of the whale that attacked many trainers. It inadvertently caused a heated discussion of whether or not it is right to hold wild animals in captivity. The film addresses many discrepancies between the physical health, and potentially mental health, of wild killer whales and those held in captivity. According to the film’s director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, this project was not intended to depict Seaworld in a negative light.

blackfish1

Many issues of animal rights and humanitarianism have now been brought to the forefront of media discussions. Are we harming these animals or ourselves by keeping them in artificial habitats? Is it even possible to provide these animals with what they need in captivity? Is it possible that these animals are more emotional than we give them credit for? Should we support zoos and places like Seaworld that put these animals on display?

 

To see an interview with the director of Blackfish visit: http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/blackfish-killer-whales/51f6c6042b8c2a5c4f000930

 

-Annalise Kukor

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