An intriguing article addressing the questions that are inevitable in the aftermath if the film. Legitimate questions with very insightful and thought-provoking comments continuing the discussion in impressive, progressive and constructive ways. Actually, I’m very much looking forward to contributing to this ongoing conversation. But, first, I must acknowledge how refreshing it is to see responsible and constructive questions addressed in the aftermath of the film. I am relieved to see that there are journalists still capable of putting things into perspective rationally, fairly weighing the pros and cons without pushing an agenda. Forthcoming questions elicit honest answers. These thoughts reveal that there are hidden motivations geared to manipulate rather than inform. The power of the message was exploited by some that were incapable of answering those approached here accurately, honestly, and from a truly experienced background. As a former animal trainer of ten years (seven of which were spent with orcas), I was hopeful that this film would prove more of an opportunity to constructively address the concerns surrounding captivity. As the layers of this onion were peeled away before me, I became disenchanted with the potential as the reality behind the scenes was revealed. Insight of experienced individuals, like that of Hargrove, Simmons and Ashdown, was swapped for the folklore of others’ barely registered presence alongside the whales. The fate of the animals many of us have sacrificed so much for, the animals many of us continue to sacrifice for, was to be left in the hands of failed and fraudulent trainers, radical activists proven to be careless and inconsistent in past rehab projects, and self-proclaimed orca experts recovering from failed publications. Now I have hope that the responsible conversations will take precedence over any subconscious propaganda the film perpetuated. What was once promised to never become aligned amongst activism has been lost amongst the muck of its destruction. With these questions, let’s bring back the light to the message that has been lost within the power of one’s agenda. Let us not exploit, but explore the opportunity to respect the memory of those we have loved and lost as we constructively approach solutions to provide better circumstances for those each of us has given so much for. Many legitimate voices were edited in the interest of maintaining the… Integrity of stories others in the film have created to give some sense of relevance to their hindered insight. I am fairly empathetic to this particular circumstance. I feel poor decisions were made to include easily discredited trainers with irrelevant recollections of events from twenty years ago over those with substantially more experience and current insight. There was clearly an agenda hidden within her initial sales pitch, and, as the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20. To trust your life’s dedication and your experience to an individual interested in only betraying and exploiting to create an appearance of credibility for those who obviously exaggerate their own time with the animals is disheartening. I am hurt that someone that presents herself as such a caring and compassionate person is capable of this extent of deceit and manipulation. I have spoken with John, who is a dear friend of mine and colleague, and I currently refer to Blackfish as “The Little Film That Could.” I am proud of the message and credibility he lent to the film. It was one of the few moments honest and respectful to the capacity of these whales and of the relationships trainers like ourselves gave so much for. What could have been a film providing insight to a greater opportunity to inspire change, emphasize responsibility and encourage all to become accountable for our moral obligation to these animals has devolved into a mouse trap for the power hungry, destructive and self-serving former trainers lost in their own delusional misrepresentations of their “experience” all in the name of proving something or pushing an agenda. It is encouraging to see another credible source being forthright with the fallacies prevalent throughout the testimonies of other former trainers. I am grateful that Gabriaela was successful at bringing this topic to the mainstream, but I am disappointed it was done so under false pretenses. You are right. We can do better. We owe the animals that much. We have the experience dreams are still made of and that gives us the power to circulate the honest-to-goodness truth, free of hidden agendas and make-believe careers. The rational voice amongst this topic is alive and well and reviving my hope of inspiring change for the animals. As for the question interested in comparing the contributions of the film and SeaWorld to the cause of conservation, it is a very bothersome truth to just one of the the plethora of double standards that are strewn throughout the film. Ridiculing for blame while critiquing and blaming themselves. The audacity of those like Jeff and Sam with extremely limited insight into killer whale care to point a finger at SeaWorld for their ponytail “tale” yet later criticize, in very poor and inaccurate form, the final session of a well-respected, highly experienced trainer is appalling. I could digress upon many such examples hours upon hours. But raising the question of what percentage of profits the very successful documentary Blackfish will contribute to any efforts towards conservation is wise and unavoidable. It’s another platform of blame the anti-caps use that’s assembled since the film’s release in an attempt to stain SeaWorld’s reputation. According to Naomi Rose, merely 1% of SeaWorld’s profits go towards rehab and rescue (May it be noted that, with the unreliable and inconsistent data this researcher has given us, I, personally, take this piece of data with a grain of salt), yet, has any money or will any portion of the millions being profited from this story go to supporting the very cause they are championing for? Or will it simply be parlayed into a down payment on a new house in the Hills? Maybe it’s already set for the next best story to be reenacted at the hands of a director incapable of revealing the whole truth. Rather, she is a master at orchestrating an agenda-based storyline based on many who have reliably misrepresented themselves and, therefore, misinformed the masses. I agree in that we have a responsibility and an obligation to raise awareness of the truth behind the hype and provide an audience with a message from highly experienced, compassionate and dedicated individuals seeking only to create the best circumstances for the animals we love. Collectively, we can and we will do better than this little film that could but got lost along the way, intoxicated more by the power rather than by the purpose of the message.
Living proof that you can take the gal outta SeaWorld but you’ll never take Seaworld outta the gal.