By James Trimarco
Advocates of rights for whales and dolphins made strides last night, as the documentary Blackfish aired on CNN during prime-time hours. The film tells the story of orca whales kept in captivity at the Seaworld theme parks in California, Florida and Texas.
Blackfish is not easy to watch. Scenes of huge whales swimming despondently past human families are subtly disturbing. Then the film gets less subtle.
Mostly through the testimony of former SeaWorld employees, it shows how the whales, frustrated and bored with their captivity, lash out from time to time in acts of aggression. These eventually led to the deaths of two trainers—Keltie Byrne and Dawn Brancheau—as well as a young man named Daniel P. Dukes, who had snuck into the park at night. Blackfish also suggests that the company repeatedly attempted to cover up these problems.
If social media was any indication, the film hit viewers in an unusually visceral way. Consider a few sample tweets:
Watching #Blackfish has me in tears.
—Janell Suarez @Janell_Suarez
After watching #blackfish on CNN, I’m not going to @SeaWorld ever again. Very eye-opening and disturbing.
—Brandon Ford @bfor2384 More....