You can learn more about that film here: The Cove - Official movie site
"The Cove" movie trailer: "The Cove" movie trailer
Like many of you, I grew up watching Flipper, Jacques Cousteau Specials, and National Geographic specials. I particularly loved the ones about the ocean. These early impressions led me to pursue training in marine biology, and I was blessed to become a college biology professor (zoology and marine biology), a career I have enjoyed for more than 20 years so far (PhD University of California, Santa Cruz)
In the late 1990s I took my family to SeaWorld in Aurora, Ohio (sold to Six Flags in 2001). We there saw the marine mammal show, including dolphins and killer whales, as well as petting tanks for dolphins, etc. I remember thinking how amazing and regal all of the marine mammals were, while simultaneously mourning their limited existence. You see, I have had the privilege of seeing pods of killer whales in the wild on multiple occasions in the San Juan Islands, Washington, USA, dolphins in California, and elsewhere.
I was already somewhat soured by my experience, and after leaving the park in Ohio, decided never to return. I did not want to support that industry. Then about a decade later I saw "The Cove" (see above), and my resolve only hardened. Then, just this week I finally had a chance to see "Blackfish", the documentary about killer whales in captivity, mainly at SeaWorld parks.
You can learn more about it here: The official "Blackfish" movie site
"Blackfish" trailer: "Blackfish" movie trailer
These two films together or either alone is enough to make you weep for these intelligent, majestic animals.
The makers of "Blackfish" reportedly did due diligence in inviting SeaWorld to participate or at least be interviewed for the film, but they refused. The film, in the meantime, has caused quite a stir, raising people's awareness of challenges and risks associated with holding killer whales in captivity.
SeaWorld claims that "Blackfish" has had no impact on ticket sales (apparently the primary measure that matters to ventures like theirs), but at the same time, felt it necessary to take out full page ads in major newspapers across the country in which they published the following open letter in response to "Blackfish".
You can see the complete letter at the Official SeaWorld website here: Open Letter from SeaWorld
This is the text of the letter with my personal comments (in red) on its contents:
SeaWorld: The Truth Is in Our Parks and People
An Open Letter from SeaWorld’s Animal Advocates
My comment and conclusion: As for me, as a marine biologist, I do not believe that marine mammal shows are essential. I actually believe the opposite, that we show our arrogance and disdain for these majestic animals and for nature when we keep them in captivity.