Blackfish Ethics

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Just last month California signed the Orca Protection and Safety Act that will hopefully become the first of many pieces of legislation coming to support the orca population. This legislation bans the breeding of killer whales, as well as keeping them in captivity for the purpose of entertainment. This issue has been in the public eye for many years but really came more to the forefront in 2013 when the documentary "Blackfish" was released. This documentary re-started the conversation about keeping killer orca whales in captivity. It highlighted the dilemma on multiple different levels including the emotional and sympathetic side of the issue, the ethics of keeping these animals in captivity as well as the scientific logic against this practice.…show more content…
One of the biggest ways this issue strikes you on an emotional level is when tragedy strikes when orcas are kept in captivity. The documentary "Blackfish" highlights just one of these tragedies, when a trainer was killed at Sea World in 2010. So the question comes to all of us why if we know that captivity and this environment is negatively affecting the orcas, do we continue to support this practice by going to the shows and marine parks? The legislation that California has passed brings the ethical issues of keeping these beautiful animals in captivity into the discussion now as well. Even though Sea World has stopped all their breeding programs, and will not be acquiring any new orcas, the question is what will become of the orcas that are currently living at these marine parks. Many may say the right answer is to set these animals free into the wild and completely end this issue. But the problem with this is that these animals have lived in, and for many of them grown up in, a captive environment so they would likely not thrive or even survive in the wild. So if we are now taking such as strong voice for these animals why are we letting those that are in captivity remain in this…show more content…
At this point Sea World has stated that over the next few years they will transition their focus from thrilling showcases of entertainment to educational programs to teach about these beautiful animals that are beyond powerful and yet so fragile at the same time. While Sea World has made these pledges and they have agreed to follow the legislation, they have also made claims that the documentary "Blackfish" and other claims from animal rights groups are just propaganda. Sea World claims that keeping these animals in captivity is actually beneficial to the entire orca population. They claim that this gives them the opportunity to study the breed in a controlled environment and further conservation efforts. Even though Sea World is making this argument, researchers are quick to point out that Sea World researchers have published very few studies. Over half of the research that Sea World has published in the last 40 years was done before 1990, which opponents state shows that Sea World it truly not doing any valuable research concerning these animals. While they did publish a significant amount of research from 2012-2013; none of it dealt with orcas. Sea World Conservation Fund is marketed as their primary investment in conservation efforts for these

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