SeaWorld Denies Claims Made in 'Blackfish' Documentary

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The film "Blackfish," which in large part is critical of SeaWorld and the practice of keeping orcas in captivity, has opened to nearly universal critical praise. Not among the films fans, unsurprisingly, is SeaWorld itself, which has denied claims made in the film about the theme parks, according to the Guardian U.K.

In particular, SeaWorld has taken exception to the film's blaming of the park's policies and practices for the deaths over the years of three people, all killed by Tilikum, an orca who first was captured in 1983. The most notorious of these deaths is the most recent incident, when trainer Dawn Brancheau drowned during a show. "Blackfish" asserts that despite Tilikum's violent history, there are no recorded orca attacks on humans in the wild.

SeaWorld issued a statement denouncing the film, saying, "'Blackfish' is billed as a documentary, but instead of a fair and balanced treatment of a complex subject, the film is inaccurate and misleading and, regrettably, exploits a tragedy that remains a source of deep pain for Dawn Brancheau's family, friends and colleagues."

The statement says that "Blackfish" distorts the facts about SeaWorld that it presents, and omits entirely other important facts about the park, including "that SeaWorld is one of the world's most respected zoological institutions, that SeaWorld rescues, rehabilitates and returns to the wild hundreds of wild animals every year, and that SeaWorld commits millions of dollars annually to conservation and scientific research."

The statement also underscores SeaWorld's commitment to the safety of its trainers, its guests and the animals under its care.


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I totally agree with Steve here, I know Sea World has a commitment to entertain and educate all of us but at what cost ? I have taken my kids there a few times when they were younger, they loved it. Three workers killed, very sad because I know these people love what they do. It is a tough call but eventually these places will be shut down because we as humans will kill them off for profit or entertainment. Hopefully this never happens and we as humans will open our eyes to the destruction we have caused this earth. Lets just pray we wake up before its to late.

July 24 2013 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One reason there is no reported deaths because of Killer Whales in the wild is that they leave no evidence. They eat the whole body and leave no remains.

July 24 2013 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These majestic animal come from a big ocean, are stolen at a young age from their family then put into a little pool. No wonder they become aggressive, their going nuts from the captivity! Their social animals who need to be in a group, not entertaining the public for our fun! It's all about money for Sea World no matter what they say, they really have no concern for the animals ,just the money they bring in. And apparently they don't care too much about the trainers or they wouldn't keep putting them in a tank with one who has already killed three people. I guess even horror sells which really says a lot about our society!

July 24 2013 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NO animal should be in captivity to entertain us. I applaud the movie makers for their efforts to save these beautiful creatures who are entitled to live their lives free. Sea World should be forced to stop their practice how terribly cruel. I, for one, will not set foot there!

July 24 2013 at 6:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Yep, that's it, absolutely brilliant way to produce a loving, cooperative creature for only one reason---financial gain by aquariums. Take him from his mother, lock him in a closet then force him to spend his life in a swimming pool.....then act shocked when he rebels and kills 3 trainers. Once again, another stroke of genius and sadism by humans, the only organism on the planet that exploits the creatures it shares the planet with for gain.

July 24 2013 at 3:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Free Willy!

July 24 2013 at 1:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Clearly sounds like a documentary done by some PETAhead - serves no purpose but to put forth their own twisted view of things and to stroke their own ego; otherwise useless.

July 23 2013 at 10:44 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Seaworld will claim anything to keep profits up. They will and do mistreat these wonderful creatures to make money. Bottom line is what matters. Not he animals.

July 23 2013 at 7:41 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Steve Heide

This is a tough one. I have been diving SCUBA and snorkeling since the early 70s, actually before that but it was pool stuff. The SeaWorlds and Aquariums provide a unique view in to a fascinating world that most people do not get to see. Then there is the educational value for children, learning to respect the waters in their locations and the critters that live in the water and around the water, manatees, turtles, crabs, stingrays, the list is endless. The dolphinariums with Orcas, I just don't know, I haven't seen this documentary but I do understand the concern. A wild animal is a wild animal is a wild animal, how many times have we heard that from just about everyone since we were kids. An Orca that has killed three people, why is it still in captivity? I do know of an instance where an animal rights group actually cut the nets surrounding a dolphin show place in the Keys. I guess if they would have thought about it, they might have realized the nets were there to keep stuff out of the dolphin area, not keep the dolphins in. The dolphins could have jumped those nets at anytime with zero effort. The dolphins did go out through the cuts in the net but came back at their prescribed feeding time, they really seem to enjoy their environment and what they do. Are dolphins and Orcas intelligent, I have first hand knowledge of how intelligent they are, one saved me from bashing my boat on to a bridge abutment when I fell asleep and the anchor didn't hold. I think the breeding program that is in effect for Orcas and dolphins will help supplement the animals who die due to age and disease, how many are born in a year, I am not sure. I do think that the capture of animals in the wild should be stopped if it already hasn't been stopped. The trauma inflicted on wild pod animals has to be off the charts in severity. They are families these pods, they represent a social structure for the animals, leave them alone, we don't need more Sea Worlds or dolphinariums, we have enough.

July 23 2013 at 7:01 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
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