Like most of this country, I have found companionship in pets. The hypocrisy of loving animals but still enslaving them is something that beats at my thoughts daily. Still, I cannot help but stare at them in the jail cells in the pet store and watch them suffer. I find it easy to justify my behavior in saying that I can ease the pain of their imprisonment by providing them with care…
Since we are on the topic of slavery, I cannot help but turn my attention to Seaworld because of the movie.. or documentary called Blackfish. If you have not seen this movie, it is on Netflix. I believe you can watch it on Youtube as well. Consider this your warning, though. This will most likely contain spoilers.
The movie goes behind the scenes of Seaworld and deep into the dark pasts of the whales who are enslaved there. The attention on Seaworld for the accidents that have taken place there have only been momentarily. The people were in rage but that fire died down as time went on. This movie reignited the flame as it exposed the murders that took place at Seaworld’s famous killer whale show.
I can go on and on about the deaths that occurred, but I believe enough has been said concerning that. May those souls R.I.P.
All I can concentrate on now, are those who live. Those Seaworld trainers who put their lives at risk, but who also love the animals they work with and then, there are the animals themselves.
One whale specifically who seemed to have found his way into my heart is Tilikum. The same Tilikum who is responsible for the death of Dawn Brancheau. If that whale were a human being, more people would open their eyes to the pain. Imagine being merely two years of age and being snatched away from your family.. your mother, your mother whose side you were meant to stay by throughout your lifetime. These experiences were snatched away from you in an instant. And while they have taken you, your family followed for as long as they could until finally, they gave up.
Next thing you know, you are in a concrete confinement. There are two other whales, both of which are females and more dominant. You are a mere two year old and crave nothing but comfort but these females provide you with anything but that. They cannot understand you, nor you, them. In a show of their dominance, they bite you, ram you, bump you.. You have the scars to prove it.
Then there are the trainers who work you nonstop. Fail the task you are given, and you are deprived of your already small meals. Because of the hunger scraping your insides, you do your best so you can look forward to the meal. In the meantime, however, you continue to be the target of abuse. As you grow, your hormones are raging. Tired, hungry, hormonal, the only way to release this, is that toy the other two whales were playing with. That fun is short lived, though. Not long after, you are split from the other whales and find yourself in a new concrete confinement.
The story goes on until the same frustrated, stressed whale releases his pain onto the trainer, Dawn. The real pain is after Dawn’s death. They say animals can sense when something is wrong. I believe this was definitely the case with Tilikum. That doesn’t mean his behavior after Dawn’s death did not have to do with his treatment. Socialization was taken from him, along with toys. For hours he remained motionless according to volunteers from The Orca Project. There was not a toy or anyone spending much time with him. He’d have company upon moving from tank to tank, and being fed. Without shade, he was left to endure the beaming sun.
Until recently they have decided to put Tilikum back to work.. putting another trainer’s life at risk.. and setting the whale up for disaster.
I would not recommend or wish that Tilly would be free.. Because of aggression and boredom, his teeth are dulled out from chewing and baring his teeth between the metal bars that separate the tanks. He would not be able to survive long in the wild. But if they can just retire him, provide him with proper care.. I wish this for the rest of the whales in Seaworld and other parks across the world.
Once again.. R.I.P to the lives lost and were shamelessly covered by Seaworld.