West Adams Preparatory High School

SeaWorld: The unsolved mystery revealed

 

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Me making out with a dolphin. (kidding, it was just a peck) (March 21, 2016)
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Me dancing with my new buddy.

 

On Nov. 1, 2015, my family and I spent the day at SeaWorld San Diego for my 18th birthday celebration. Nowadays, most teenagers would much rather throw a party or as they would say, “kickback” for the big 18, I on the other hand, am not your average 18-year-old.

For years, it has been my dream to interact with dolphins. I’ve talked about it for as long as I can remember, and as you can imagine, there was nothing else in the whole wide world that I’d rather do.

 

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I literally took a picture everywhere there was a dolphin.

 

I like to define myself as a “developing environmentalist”. Of course I care about the environment, however I don’t necessarily agree with everything an average or even a radical environmentalist believes in. (No offense). While you’ll never see me chained to a tree, going completely vegan, or throwing flour bombs at celebrities as a way of protesting -at least not yet-; You will however, hear me talk about environmental issues and encourage others in my community to take action as well.

 

 

 

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Shamu’s One Ocean show.

Many of my friends warned me about SeaWorld, and insisted that I watched the documentary “Blackfish” before going, but I refused to do so. Days after our trip to SeaWorld, I became curious about this documentary and decided to watch it.

The documentary, whose solely purpose is to damage SeaWorld’s image, provides “real life” testimonies of former SeaWorld trainers and their experiences, and for a quick second I almost bought it.

For months, I went crazy watching SeaWorld accident videos, news, testimonies, literally anything I could find. I vowed to discover the truth. However, after all the research, my brain was suddenly filled with so much Information that I did not know what to believe.

Deep down inside, a part of me refused to believe the allegations made in the film, but the testimonies seemed so real that you can’t imagine them being false. And then there was SeaWorld. Of course I realized that if this were true, it would not happen right in front of our noses, (Not that animal abuse is EVER acceptable) but like in any court system, the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

According to a 32-page Backfish analysis* released by SeaWorld, which the misleading content of the film is exposed and thoroughly explained, there were many strategies used in this film to confuse the viewers.

  • Misleading footage– The opening sequence consists of different pieces of footage from SeaWorld’s underwater cameras-featuring Tilikum- along with the 911 call regarding Dawn Brancheu’s death. This of course leads the audience into believing that SeaWorld trainers were allowed to swim with Tilikium, such thing that was never allowed.
  • Deceptive testimonies–  John Hargrove, whom throughout the film speaks about Tilikum, worked at SeaWorld San Diego from 1995 until 2001 and SeaWorld Texas from 2008 through August 2012. Hargrove never worked at SeaWorld Florida, and never worked with Tilikum.
  • Inaccurate comparison– The voice of Ms. Berg over the film is heard while showing female trainer riding a whale. The trainer is not Ms. Berg, it is Holly Byrd, and is footage recorded at SeaWorld more than 10 years after Ms. Berg left SeaWorld.

I could go on and on about all 69 pieces of evidence presented in the document, but I figured this should be enough. Now tell me, who in their right mind would take the word of a film whose only purpose was to brainwash the audience into believing what they wanted them to believe? I certainly wouldn’t.

Still, there are many more controversies regarding SeaWorld and their animal care. Critics argue that these animals are abused and/or mistreated by their trainers, but the two times I visited SeaWorld, I saw nothing but love and affection between trainers and animals. When I met some of the trainers during my two visits to SeaWorld, they all referred to their position as much more than a job. While many people believe that trainers are completely deceived about the job risks, all you need is common sense to realize that trainers should be aware of the job risks before applying, and that they are not forced to remained on the job.

The claims regarding SeaWorld collecting whales from the wild are false. The truth is, SeaWorld has not collected a killer whale from the wild in more than 35 years. As SeaWorld Veterinarian Dr. Lara Croft states: “The vast majority of our whales were born in our parks.” And even if they did release the animals, they would not be able to survive because they cannot look out for themselves.

What many critics fail to recognize is the good work that SeaWorld has done throughout the years. What about the 27,000 animals SeaWorld has rescued and rehabilitated? Does that not count?. You tell me, how else would a child fulfill their dream of interacting with marine animals that can only be seen in the deepest of waters? How else would researchers be able to develop new and improved technology for animal care if they cannot study them up close?

SeaWorld is constantly changing for the better. From discontinuing theatrical shows to constructing new and improved habitats for their animals, SeaWorld keeps up day-to-day with the demands of society and strives to improve visitor and animal experience at all times.

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At the end of the day, knowledge is power, and we shouldn’t be so quick to judge something without having experienced it first hand. Do not let any sort of  propaganda cloud your judgement; if you want to know the truth behind something, you must find out on your own terms.

*Click this link to check out the Blackfish Analysis document.

69 Comments

  • Reply Mark Greenstar May 10, 2016 at 3:00 am

    SeaWorld is the same as Slaveowners claiming they do this for the good of the dolphins.
    Dolphins. Elephants, Orcas, Polar Bears, should Not be in these prisons.
    How do they sleep knowing how cruel they are for a dollar.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Reply Keith May 10, 2016 at 7:55 am

      You’re uneducated, brainwashed, imbecile, this story is spot on.

      Like

      • Reply Rock dog May 10, 2016 at 1:18 pm

        You’re the imbecile. The article is incorrect

        Like

    • Reply Marine Biologist May 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Watch the Cove and see how you feel about Dolphins in captivity…..

      Like

      • Reply Rock dog May 10, 2016 at 1:17 pm

        I know right?! This article is such a lie. I researched this matter for over a year. I myself witnessed abnormal behavior in the animals at seaworld.

        Like

  • Reply Ahntara May 10, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Seems you have your own propaganda campaign going.

    Liked by 3 people

  • Reply bently11 May 10, 2016 at 4:17 am

    There is no doubt that the trainers love the animal.. But no matter how much the trainer loves the animal, you can cannot deny that keeping these magnificent animals in fishbowls for profit is detrimental to the animals wellbeing. I’m happy that sea world has taken steps in the right direction by ending the breeding of orcas. I look forward to the day that I can actually visit the park again once all of the whales and dolphins have been released to sea pens to live out the rest of their days free of slavery.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Reply J747 May 10, 2016 at 7:41 am

      If those animals are released to the sea they will die. And what do you know is the right direction is for anything? it’s just the direction you “think” is right. What will happen to the animals when they can no longer interact with trainers they’ve known for their whole lives? What’s going to happen is Sea World will lose so much money that they won’t be able to fund any animal rescue groups or environmental groups that actually use science to find ways to help animals. Also when children can’t see these wonderful creatures up close, they tend to lose interest, the next generation won’t give a damn

      Liked by 1 person

      • Reply René Bruz May 10, 2016 at 8:17 am

        HaHa you are funny. 100% wrong. I live in So Cal it’s very easy to get on a boat for less then what you pay at seaworld and see animals in the ocean. Orca’s are very very smart and swim hundreds of miles weekly, swimming in a tiny tank is horrid. There are plenty of people stepping up to make a sanctuary in the sea for them when they get out of the $hithole seaworld. Nothing wrong with a giant sea pen for them to live in, nothing! And once that is up paying for care is peanuts compared to the millions $eacrap spends on them shows. So there won’t be an issue. Ever wonder why the largest circus on earth uses zero animals ????

        Like

      • Reply Rick Williams May 10, 2016 at 8:55 am

        Captive dolphins were successfully released into the wild in South Korea. It can be done. SeaWorld will do all it can to try to convince the public that it can’t. These animals were born to live in the wild. They are not domesticated dogs and cats. they have instincts.

        Like

      • Reply Norah May 10, 2016 at 10:33 am

        You should check this out. Yes, you can get an orca out of the tank and into a safe natural environment.

        http://savedolphins.eii.org/news/entry/seaworld-claims-sanctuaries-dont-work-well-prove-them-wrong-again#.VyxFC09F3Bs.facebook

        Also, yeah, sea world does some good, but animals as intelligent and in need of space (like Orcas) absolutely do NOT belong in captivity. So what, a kid wants to see a whale? Go into nature. I see them all the time off the coast, and it was way more cool.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Alicia May 10, 2016 at 4:18 am

    You asked “how else would a child fulfill their dream of interacting with marine animals that can only be seen in the deepest of waters?” Well, for one, you could take a whale watching tour in their natural habitat. This statement seems very selfish in the sense that YOU are the one who wants to interact with these wild animals and will justify them living in captivity solely for that purpose.

    So Sea World hasn’t captured any wild orcas in 35 years. The fact is that they DID capture wild orcas and ripped families apart for their own greed. They breed orcas in captivity and continue to rip families apart by transporting juvenile orcas to other parts of the country. Orcas are highly social and live in families their whole lives. Do you not agree that breaking up families is wrong?

    I watched BlackFish and it was clearly stated that Tilikum pulled the trainer into the pool by the woman’s hair, and that she was in fact NOT swimming with the animal. The documentary also stated that Sea World tried to blame the trainer for her death for leaving her hair in a pony tail, which would be easy to grab onto. Very classy of them.

    I will admit that Sea World has done good things by rescuing and rehabilitating animals in the past. But you can only use that excuse up to a point.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Reply Maria May 10, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Very well said. Seems like the writer only focused on the things she only wanted to focus on.

      Like

  • Reply Christy G May 10, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Im sorry but the good does not and will not ever outweigh the bad that SW has done. You cant abuse one child but treat the other children great. The negative impact they have had in the decline of SRKW will never be forgotten!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Reply pbarretcorson May 10, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Why not tell your thoughts to Dawn’s family and see what they say to you and your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Craig May 10, 2016 at 5:43 am

    I visited Sea World Florida for much of the same reasons. I love marine animals. I think Sea World as a whole does so much good and does not deserve the half-told lies. These animals serve as Ambassadors. This gives a chance for thousands of people to experience an encounter with them that would not normally get to see. When you have a close encounter like I did, you want to save them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply berick May 10, 2016 at 7:24 am

      Yes, you want to save them. From what? Captivity maybe?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Reply J747 May 10, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Exactly thank you. why are people so eager to hate for the sake of hate

      Like

  • Reply twinzrock16 May 10, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Hello
    I disagree with your article. I feel that even though you are correct about how one should look up facts and the information instead of solely relying on the flim Black Fish. There is plenty of information and facts to prove how animals I’m captivity is unhealthy for the animals and putting individuals lives in danger. The Oracs are not the only dangerous animals in Sea World. I also disagree with your comment that research can not develop if they were not in captivity actually that is the opposite. While there may have been some valuable information found in discovering more information about these wonderful creatures, they do not act the same in captivity and in the wild so some of the information you find is usless. This veterinarian I know has been to Sea World and told them to change their environment for the Sea otters and they refused and many died. I could go on and on listing the facts for why it is wrong and horrible to keep these animals in captivity unless they are injured or have health issues that prohibit them from going back into the ocean. One example is dolphins have an echo and being in captivity and being fed dead food pumped with chemicals they loose their ability to use their echo. Another example is dolphins have strong hearing and the glass tanks make the movie even louder creating every child laugh or whistle bounce back and forward on the glass making the nosie extremely loud for them . I think it is time for individuals to think less of them selves and more about the animals behind bars. I think one of the best moments in my life was when I saw dolphins in the ocean jumping with their pod so gracefully. Having all the space in the World and being with their family they belong with.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Reply Chie Smith May 10, 2016 at 5:54 am

    She missed the point. Orcas and dolphins belong in the wild and not in tanks entertaining humans. But I agree with the great work SeaWorld has done with the saving and rehabilitation of thousands of marine animals. This is now what should be SeaWorlds legacy. Without the revenue pouring in now because of the much needed education of the movie Blackfish, SeaWorld will have to look elsewhere for revenue. It’s a vicious cycle just as those who hunt big game in Africa believe they’re conservationists because the top dollar they pay to hunt is the very dollar that pays the rangers to protext these animals from poachers.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply blueboyblonde May 10, 2016 at 5:54 am

    who paid for this article to be written and it does not sound like a letter written by an 18 year old as is implied. anyways i find this article misleading as once we know who paid for it to be written then we can clearly decide how much of it to believe.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Reply Linda Ennis May 10, 2016 at 5:57 am

    While your observations are very accurate and I applaud your efforts at digging for the truth about SeaWorld, I have to point out a few things. Wild animals belong and deserve to be in the wild. When you take a wild animal out of it’s natural habitat, whether by force or by breeding, it enters an unnatural state. It can very, very rarely attain a normal existence. Try applying the circumstances of these animals captivity to yourself. How well do you think a human would survive in similar circumstances? This is why horrible unnatural things happen. The captives become enraged tortured animals. In other words they go insane. The bottom line is when animals are used for human entertainment the animal always loses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Reply J747 May 10, 2016 at 7:51 am

      So your saying that every zoo should release their animals? Every pet owner from a gold fish to a chihuahua should let their animals go? After all every dog species we have came from when we “enslaved” the wolf hundreds if not thousands of years ago and breed them to suite our needs for certain aspects.

      Like

      • Reply Lindsay Sell May 10, 2016 at 9:44 am

        So your saying that every zoo should release their animals? Every pet owner from a gold fish to a chihuahua should let their animals go? After all every dog species we have came from when we “enslaved” the wolf hundreds if not thousands of years ago and breed them to suite our needs for certain aspects.

        okay, for starters, you’re going off the deep end. dogs and cats are domesticated animals. they are not WILD. zoos should release their animals. why do we need zoos? because we are selfish, that’s why. we use wild animals as a form of entertainment and it’s disgusting. the only circumstance i believe an animal should be in a sanctuary is if they are endangered and on the verge of extinction.

        Like

  • Reply Michael Harrison May 10, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Thank you for writing this article. I am a huge proponent of Sea World and the film Blackfish was filled with so many lies and half truths that it made me furious. I have been a supporter and season pass holder for two of the three parks and I have seen all the good that the parks have done. I hope this article is pushed out farther into main stream media so that people can really see the truth about these animal activists. It starts with Sea World, next it will be our zoos and then finally our pets if they have their way.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Michael Harrison May 10, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Thank you for writing such an informed and intelligent story that speaks the truth as to what Sea World truly does and uncovers the lies and half truths of the movie Blackfish. My hope is that the mainstream media will pick this up and run with it. Sea World should never cave in to people like these animal activists as if they fall so will our zoos and eventually they will demand the “release” of our pets.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply tye block May 10, 2016 at 6:18 am

    Shame on you! SeaWorld is the equivalent size of a concrete bathtub for these animals. I have been involved with dolphin and marine rescue,so I am no stranger who is being swayed by a film. The film “Blackfish” is a wonderful TRUE documentary. Obviously,you are buying into the propaganda spewed by the prison know as SeaWorld. These animals are ripped from their family units and exploited for the stockholders of SeaWorld. I will make sure that this place is shut down by supporting activists who know the truth. You’re a dolphin lover? I don’t think so with your lack of respect for their health and happiness and their lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Reply Mayda May 10, 2016 at 6:20 am

    At last one article saying the truth! Without Seaworld so much will be unknown. This animals have been real ambassadors and give so much! People just simple believe what is told to them without looking much deeper. Kudos to the writer of this article!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply Norah May 10, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Just because this is something you wanted to hear doesn’t make it the truth. I’d love to hear that they’re healthy and happy and do no destruction in captivity, but the truth hurts sometimes.

      Have you seen one in the wild? They’re amazing! They have unique relationships and ways of communicating, and are much cooler to watch. Some animals can handle captivity, but we can all agree that orcas cannot.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Jackie May 10, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Good for you! More people should do research and find the facts instead of having a knee jerk reaction to propaganda and misleading information. Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply Michelle May 10, 2016 at 8:13 am

      These extremely intelligent sentient beings do not belong in captivity. She is ignorant as are you.

      Like

  • Reply rick May 10, 2016 at 6:41 am

    this article is nonsense

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Christina May 10, 2016 at 6:50 am

    I am not completely disagreeing with what you’re saying because I am sure there are some inaccuracies in the film, however, I saw Blackfish as well, and it completely changed me. I am an animal lover, regardless of the type. I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was 5 years old, and wished to visit Sea World my entire childhood.

    At the end of the day, whether the trainers are nice or whether the facility is providing cheaper tickets, we still have to realize that these animals are massive creatures that are in pools only twice their size.

    After all of the research and ‘information’ I also filled my head with, I started to learn about sea pens. I know I would be much more inclined to pay money to view these animals in their natural habitat from a boat or a pier…even if it meant there would be a chance that I didn’t get to see one that day.

    It is heartbreaking to think about the mental anguish these animals go through living in an enclosure; they are incredibly smart and shouldn’t be confined so they can be bred, trained or made to bounce balls off their noses for food. SeaWorld might not have taken an animal from the wild in 35 years, but they did it initially, which is how all of these creatures are there now. Whales swim miles and miles per day, it is part of the natural rhythm of their species…how can they live normally inside a place like that?

    It is hard when people say they don’t support SeaWorld but have no problem going to a zoo. Where should we draw the line? Animals shouldn’t be deprived of their natural habitats, especially not because humans want to make money.

    You made some really good points in this article, especially about the rescuing and rehabilitating of injured animals. I have no doubt that they spend tons of money on veterinarians and medical care, but why not do this from a different perspective?

    I just wanted to share my thoughts. Keep that fire for wanting good for the environment in your heart.

    Liked by 3 people

  • Reply Greg May 10, 2016 at 6:52 am

    You should lock yourself in a prison with 5 or 6 other humans that you don’t really know and allow doctors to study you for the remainder of your life, You know, to improve technology and care techniques. And make sure you always eat your fish with a bucket of ice mixed in, sorta like the way it is found naturally in the wild, right? Geesh!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply a friend of animals May 10, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Thank you for writing this article. I too never believed the people that made the film. I guess
    that they forgot that there are people like the author that does research for herself. I, myself
    feel that it is so important the that we keep wild animals in captivity because one, it will help keep a specie alive and two, so many people that can not afford to go ‘there” to see them
    for themselves. Yes, zoo and others are getting better in the treatment of our “wild” friends
    and I am glad that they listen. Not until you see a whale up front do you realize how beautiful
    they are. That in inself might help a student go into that field. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply J747 May 10, 2016 at 8:07 am

      Totally Agree

      Like

  • Reply Kristal May 10, 2016 at 7:07 am

    I’ve been to SeaWorld many times. I even got to get in the dolphin pool once. I’ve never heard from anyone that they thought SeaWorld trainers abused animals. I watched Blackfish, and I read the very long response from SeaWorld. And I will never step foot on their property again. What I think you are missing is that Blackfish, while it did have its own agenda, was about more than Tillicum. Further, the movie did not say that SeaWorld was still, or had even recently, captured Orcas from the wild. It was very clear that Tilicum, specifically, had been captured for and belonged to another company first, and was bought by SeaWorld. It outlined quite well SeaWorld’s history of lying about scientific facts, such as the average lifespan of an Orca and collapsed dorsal fins. Just because SeaWorld continues to stand by their claims about such things, does not make the many scientists wrong. Science recently confirmed a 100 year old female Orca (“Granny”/J2) living in the wild. And Tilicum is currently dying in his thirties. SeaWorld just announced his declining health. If you can’t follow the movie well enough to notice when it is using old footage, which was always obvious, then maybe you weren’t trying that hard to examine facts. Each piece of footage used was to make various points. Just because someone else is talking during it does not make it “misleading” footage. Also, Loro Parque recently had another incident. And all but one of their Orcas belong to SeaWorld. Yet, SeaWorld continues to shuck any responsibility. Lastly, How DARE you. “You tell me, how else would a child fulfill their dream of interacting with marine animals that can only be seen in the deepest of waters?” Animals do not exist for human entertainment. Just because people want to be able to touch and see and play with certain animals does not make it our right to take those animals from their natural homes and lock them in tanks 1/1000+ the size. How dare you. How selfish.

    Like

  • Reply HAL BRADFORD May 10, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I AGREE. AS A VOLUNTEER AT THE GA AQUARIUM WE JUST HAD A GROUP OF “EMPTY THE TANKS” PROTESTORS. THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE LAST WEDSDAY WHEN WE HAD OVER 2000 KIDS ON FIELD TRIPS TO SEE OUR WHALE SHARKS. MOST OF THEM HAVE LEARNED MANY FACTS ABOUT THEM AND OUR OTHER SPECIES BEFORE THEY ARRIVED. AQUARIUMS AND PARKS LIKE SEAWORLD PROVIDE A GREAT SERVICE,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply Michelle May 10, 2016 at 8:14 am

      These beings do not belong in captivity. It is unethical.

      Like

  • Reply berick May 10, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Please. The arguments you make are ridiculous. The fact that a voice on the video is not the person being shown on the video is proof of misleading the viewers? Please. Either you are too dense to understand the message of Blackfish or you are a propaganda piece. The documentary is not supposed to prove that the animals are being abused, being caught in the wild or that the trainers are not aware of the dangers inherent in their job. The purpose of the documentary and the proof it provides is that these animals should not be kept in captivity. They agree no wild orcas have been captured and make very clear that is because SeaWorld is inseminating captive orcas using the sperm of captive orcas. The documentary shows the love the trainers have for the animals and never claims they abuse them. The abuse is by SeaWorld by keeping them in an unnatural environment. You ask where else a girl can live her dream by interacting with marine animals and my answer is maybe your dreams don’t come true if they are at the cost of other living things suffering.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Kathleen Finnerty May 10, 2016 at 7:30 am

    What an idiot. ANYONE who thinks it’s okay to imprison an intelligent marine mammal in a metal coffin for its entire life doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Renee May 10, 2016 at 7:31 am

    You can’t be serious with this? This just proves how naïve you are and how badly you would like to believe something because you want to swim with dolphins. How do you suppose these parks breed more whales? I’m sure you saw how they do it in Blackfish. That is not the natural order of life. Whether or not they trap these whales and dolphins in the open ocean is beside the point. The fact is, they did trap them, even if it was 35 years ago. It wasn’t right. And now, they are using them to make more who will never know what it’s like to experience the open ocean. They will never know what it is like to indulge in the wild, free feelings and urges they are born with. It is the same thing as impregnating incarcerated women and then raising them in the same prison for their entire life. SeaWorld has made them dependent on human care and have ultimately sentenced them to death. All for the public’s amusement and the almighty dollar. These mammals are far too big to be contained for the purpose they use them for. You argue that SeaWorld is caring for these animals, but they aren’t. And I don’t believe that the trainers are in on it. This is being done at the corporate level. For the most part, I believe the trainers are there for the animals, but if they really cared, they would be advocating for the end of breeding, so no other large animals need to live this way. Most zoos and aquariums operate with the intent to rescue and rehab smaller animals and in come cases release them back in the wild. They also study environments and ecosystems to help preserve them. How does SeaWorld contribute to the overall welfare of these animals? They claim to be saving them since they won’t survive in the wild. Well, no kidding they won’t survive, none of them have even been out there! And if Blackfish didn’t expose so much that is wrong with the system, why is SeaWorld now changing the way they operate? Face it, they are profiting off of the majesty and awe of these animals. They should never have been captured or bred. There are some things in this world that need to be left alone, no matter how awesome they would be to experience up close. What if the roles were reversed? What if you were captured and bred for sport? For entertainment? To know that something wasn’t right, but to never feel free? It’s just wrong. If only you really cared for something other than your own fascination and selfishness with these mammals. Try watching The Cove. That might open your eyes to how they obtain their dolphin population.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Alex Barley May 10, 2016 at 7:47 am

    This article does not succeed in doing what it seeks to accomplish. It is a sophomoric attempt by some deranged teenager to debunk what anyone with half a mind knows to be true: orcas, or any wild animal, are not meant to be in captivity., and there is no way a pool 3 times the size of an animal that is meant to travel 100 miles/day is better off. You splitting hairs about date inaccuracies and other trivial matters as compared to the larger issue at hand is laughable. Go write for OK magazine- they and their readers are used to nonsense like this.

    Like

  • Reply Twinner May 10, 2016 at 8:03 am

    I applaud your article, no ifs and butts. As for the haters… Sheeesh. You only ‘sound’ like you have conscious with your free-the-animals speech, but you don’t fool anyone with the way you throw insults at an 18 y.o human being. Shame on you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply terumi May 10, 2016 at 11:07 am

      seriously?! so since Jaycee Dugard (girl kidnapped and held captive for 18yrs) had her children while in captivity, and they weren’t actually kidnapped themselves like she was, that makes it ok?? same concept . this author is HIGHLY uneducated and naive, to say the least. i’d love to hear her opinion on this topic in 10yrs .

      Like

  • Reply Stacy Noon May 10, 2016 at 8:09 am

    OMG people. There is nothing wrong with what Sea World is doing. Scientists are able to study this magnificant creatures and learn more about them. The rescue injured mammels that are injured because of us humans being careless. I see pictures of dead Orcas from the wild that have died not from natural causes but once again us humans being once again careless. if it weren’t for Sea World, what would happen to the animals that are injured. They would never get a second chance to live….

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply René Bruz May 10, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Victoria, you wrote this because $eaworld hooked you up with how much for your college fund ? Answer honestly, as you must be blind in any other scenario!

    Like

  • Reply J747 May 10, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Well done Victoria. You have done what so many are afraid to do in this day in age, talk out against someone else’s opinion. It also saddens me to see how the public has taken the bait of “BlackFish” hook, line and sinker. Now true at one point Sea World and other groups did some wrong. But humans learn from their mistakes, not from getting it right the first time. I don’t know if the maker of “blackfish” wanted to be a modern day muckraker or just wanted her opinion heard. But i feel it too has done more harm then good. People are quick to enrage these days, they make assumptions without looking into all the facts and it makes them feel special when they talk down to others. Don’t let some people take you down cause there are far more people who agree with you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply Christina May 10, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Blackfish did what a lot of documentaries do…shine light on topics that are often in the dark.

      I am not trying to attack you or the writer of this article, but what is humane about seeing a whale inside a park vs. the wild? It is not natural. I would hope that if you saw a whale in the ocean you wouldn’t think to yourself ‘Wow, you’d be much happier and healthier in a place like SeaWorld.’

      People will always make assumptions, but I feel that regardless of this documentary, the bottom line is about animals in captivity. There are whales living in the ocean for triple the amount of time than these animals are in SeaWorld. They have most recently had 3 animal deaths in the past 6 months due to bacterial infections that they can’t sort out. It doesn’t take that much ‘research’ to line the facts up…it is pretty simple to understand that they’re being subjected to confinement against their will.

      I didn’t wish to ‘take the writer down’ when I responded to this article; I was simply sharing my opinion as she was sharing hers. Considering this is a high school site for sharing stories, I hope that as she gets older, she will see things a bit differently and be more open.

      I am not trying to perpetuate hate or who is right or wrong, so your attitude of assuming we are talking down to her is irrelevant. Some people might interpret this story as being talked down to themselves because she is accusing people of not knowing their facts.

      I’m just saying, you’re pointing a finger when one is pointing back at you.

      Like

  • Reply Shel D May 10, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Ms. Arevalo, save a copy of this and in 5….10…15…20 years read it again. I hope by then you can shake your head in realization of the magnitude of entitlement and rapaciousness this write up portrays. 1. You so selfishly and desperately wanted to go, you purposely decided not to research before you went. 2. you didn’t want to believe it so you weren’t viewing or researching with a neutral mind. and 3. “none are now not taken from the wild? they are all born in captivity?” can you pause and LISTEN TO THAT sentence? they are whales and dolphins, who travel 100s of miles everyday, in family pods and have for millions of years. but that these are ok to be kept in big tubs forever, their entire life… just to fulfill your 1 day of dreams? or anyone’s “dream” is ok? Seriously your justification is skewed and flawed to say the least. It’s actually a little disturbing, because after you peel back the entire article it all rests on you getting what you wanted at any cost.

    Like

  • Reply Rick Williams May 10, 2016 at 8:59 am

    How do you know the dolphins wanted to swim with you? Obviously they have no choice. Your selfishness and self centeredness along with SeaWorld’s greed have contributed to a lifetime of confinement for these creatures. But hey as long as your happy right.

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  • Reply Charles May 10, 2016 at 9:31 am

    You contradicted yourself multiple times in this article. “Now tell me, who in their right mind would take the word of a film whose only purpose was to brainwash the audience into believing what they wanted them to believe? I certainly wouldn’t.” And you tried to do exactly that.

    Like

  • Reply Lindsay Sell May 10, 2016 at 9:33 am

    oh, you poor, poor girl :( this article is kind of embarrassing on your end. animals, such as these deathworld, are NOT for entertainment. they’re in tiny bathtubs when killer whales are known to swim HUNDREDS of miles each day. the average life span of a whale in the wild is 60-100 years. the average life span of a captive whale is 13 years. and you’re posting this nonsense article because you had always wanted to interact with dolphins? seaworld is known for using tilikum as a stud. he’s killed three trainers. but i guess you think this is normal behavior? environmentalist my ass.

    Like

  • Reply Dan May 10, 2016 at 9:45 am

    The author is well-spoken and informed than the average 18 year old. However, she allows her obsession with dolphins cloud her judgment of what the root of the issue of SeaWorld truly is; and that is caging animals in small confined areas not suitable for longevity. There is no doubt that these “trainers” love the whales and dolphins, how could they not? They chose this job for the same passion as the author. Yet you don’t love your children and not let them leave the home forever–which is what they are doing at SeaWorld. These whales are dying sooner than the average in the wild, and they are doing it for the entertainment of people. It’s unethical and if the author were a little older and open minded she would see that.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Charice Shannon May 10, 2016 at 9:47 am

    So it’s okay to imprison large wild animals in what is essentially a swimming pool, force them to breed, kidnap their children and force them to perform because they use the money earned from this slavery to help other animals. Amazing justification.

    Like

  • Reply Wendy Doll May 10, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Wow, how much did Seaworld pay you for this “story?” I guess your college education is now paid for.
    And the “truth” that SeaWorld spewed about how long orcas live for, you believe that? The 101 year old killer whale off the coast of British Columbia disagrees with their “truth.”
    And the fact that these extremely sentient beings who actually live together most of their lives but who SeaWorld separates also don’t know what they’re doing because SeaWorld says it’s OK to separate them?
    Grab a brain girlfriend, you’ve been had for a few thousand dollars.

    Like

  • Reply Phare May 10, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I am so sorry you wrote this article. You are young and found a way to believe what you wished to believe because you wanted a dolphin interaction-which is very possible without going to Sea World. I worked and what is now called Six Flags with dolphins for several years. I KNOW first hand that Sea World is not only LYING about what they say is false about Blackfish but also that they put on an excellent show for the audience. What you do NOT see behind the scenes that I witnessed everyday is the treatment of the dolphins and whales, which is EXACTLY what Blackfish says it is. The fact that animals who swim 50 miles a day on average are in tanks so small and cramped, cement cells where they cannot properly use their sonar, they are in chlorinated water (remember swimming in the local pool all day and how much your eyes hurt afterward? imagine being in that water 24/7) They are fed dead fish with vitamins, they are only given stimulation during the shows and trainings but other than that have nothing to do but pick on one another for the rest of the time. Cetaceans (whales and dolphins) have brains larger than ours, complex social systems and are very tight with their pods (families). Imagine being torn from yours at a young age and placed into a cold, sterile environment with strangers and not knowing what happened to your family as you heard the screams of them being slaughtered (think Taiji). So thought I appreciate you wanted to spend time with these dear animals, as many of us do, what did happen by your visit and your article is you have supported the continual slaughter, torture and captivity of a highly intelligent, sentient being that does not deserve to spend the rest of it’s life in prison. Dolphins die at half their normal life and are very stressed the entire time they are in captivity. This you do not see either at the shows, past the music and “smiling” faces of the dolphins who are happy to do the shows because they are so bred and wish to get fed. The truth is most are aggressive to each other and their trainers and many trainers come away with teeth rakes/marks and bruises from being jammed in the ribs by these dolphins fed up with the containment. Sea World has been caught in lies over and over and will do whatever it can to keep it’s shows open. The CEOs and like do NOT care one bit for the animals but only for the money it generates. THEY know better than to get win the water with these animals! Also the “good” you speak of? Sea World is available to help with standings and the like, yes and that’s what they should focus on. There will always be an animal they can show the public that they have “rescued”. Sea World not capturing Orcas for 35 years? They have tried, over and over and over. They have been turned away and permits not allowed because of people like me stopping them from being able to through petitions, EXPERT testimony and scientific evidence that negates every excuse they have for wanting to capture whales. However they never stopped trying and most recently tried to bring in a large number of captured wild Beluga Whales currently held in Russia. We shut them down again. So the lies you believed are from greedy, self-centered people who are only in it for the money. I would very much support the Ceos and like swimming with dolphins, lets begin with Tilikum…shall we???

    Like

  • Reply Toni Lucero May 10, 2016 at 10:25 am

    much as you choose to point out the discrepancies of the opposition you are also choosing to ignore the truths. These animals were not meant to live in a fish bowl, even born to it, they are too large and intelligent. For what, for your personal desire to be near them? They do not need our care and examination to help…. unless we imprison them – then we feel obligated to help. So, no prison equals no need to study. See? Stop being selfish for your own desires. If you truly love the marine life… set it free.

    Like

  • Reply Mark Evans May 10, 2016 at 10:33 am

    I don’t need a documentary to tell me what SeaWorld is doing is wrong. Just stick your head in one of their tanks. Any intelligent being would go mad trapped in four walls. At least zoos try to replicate an animals’ natural environment. Victoria focused on the irrelevant points of Blackfish. Who cares who did the voice over or if trainers were allowed to swim with the Orcas? It’s time to end the horrible practice of mistreating animals for our entertainment.
    I hope that someday Victoria looks at her photo kissing the dolphin and is saddened that an intelligent animal was enslaved for her enjoyment.

    Like

  • Reply dette May 10, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I too watched Blackfish expecting it to completely change my mind. It did not. Blackfish is one-sided solely around Tilikum, which Sea World did in fact rescue from his abuser. But Tilikum was already damaged from abuse when Sea World rescued him. The movie states that “Sear World” did not tell the trainers about Tilikum’s prior history and prior attack on a trainer…….. that, IF TRUE, would be Sea World’s only fault.
    I’ve been to Sea World for many years, as the majority of Californians, and I’ve experienced their Breakfast with Shamu, which is an extraordinary and wonderful thing to do at Sear World.
    The animals are practically breed in captivity so releasing them out in the wild is a death sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Kylie May 10, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Victoria — good for you! You actually took the interest and time to learn and educate yourself. Anyone who has a “0 or 180” view of something is wrong: there has to be a consideration of pros and cons, and an opinion somewhere in the middle based on more than just a “this is how it is”.

    I’m sadly not surprised by the acidic comments left by a lot of readers, instead of just keeping to facts. I’m fortunate to have friends that have large animals, and trust me, it is a life dedication and love. My daughter has also been able to experience the animals, and her level of appreciation and care of animals, the world, preventing pollution, etc has only been tremendously boosted with her awe of the animals.
    I could write volumes on the pros and cons of captive animals (and I used to be verrrry opposed to it), but when done and monitored correctly, my opinion is that the pros outweigh the cons.

    John Muir had a quote that I’ve been looking for for about a year, but it basically was something like “If one cannot see and experience something, how will he ever gain the appreciation to want to work to preserve it?”

    Don’t we wish someone had kept a couple of Dodo birds around?

    Kylie

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply amazonz5 May 10, 2016 at 11:49 am

    SeaWorld is one of the most knowledgable marine rescue/rehab/release facilities in the US. The work they do in US waters would not be possible were it not for the understanding gained through the raising of these animals. Most of the dolphins and whales at the parks were captive born, though the original Orcas were wild caught. The dolphins are permanent residents who were rescues who cannot be released due to injuries that prevent them from surviving in the wild alone, such as stranding alone as an infant. Dolphin calves must remain with their mothers for as long as 3 full years to learn survival skills. If a calf loses its mother, and is rescued, it no longer has that source of milk, as well as learning, and cannot fend for itself in the wild. Daily study of these animals is necessary to teach us as much as we can learn to try to correct the horrific acts we commit against them daily with our boat propellers, plastic garbage, toxic chemicals, oil spills, and discarded fishing gear. The reason these marine mammals and reptiles (turtles) must end up in these facilities is OUR FAULT!!!! So don’t come down morally on the research facilities that are doing their best to deal with the mess that the majority of the population are too damned lazy to clean the hell up!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply mel May 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Look , I grew up wanting to be a marine biologists and went to sea world every chance i got , i had the fun card and went all year long , petting the dolphins and watching the orcas perform , my dream was to work with them but not in that environment . I started writing sea world at the age of 11! Asking them why their enclosures were so small and why the dolphins were acting crazy and why they were getting sunburned . There response is the same today as it was in 1988 , “we take very good care of our animals and they receive the highest level of veterinarian care possible . ” I started then to research as i got older about how the dolphins and whales need to dive deep to avoid the constant sun and are use to swimming hundreds of miles a day , they are also not solitary mammals , orcas stay with their families their whole lives . And yes sea world has done a lot of good but you know what , those poor poor mammals are stuck in a small concrete tank alone . I don’t think anyone can compare ” other animals ” in zoos or homes to that of dolphins and whales. And I’m not saying i like to see a polar bear in an enclosure or a lion or tiger , gorilla , but those animals are in large enclosures similar to their home environment as close as possible . And none of them are made to perform daily . I know sea world cannot release their orcas nor do i want them to because they would not survive and don’t know how to hunt , but i would like to see the performing stop and change their environment . Their is a lot of truth behind blackfish and some of it is not truth , what the concrete tanks and solitary living does to an orca is proven . That alone is just so sad and I have no pleasure watching these poor animals jump and splash for a clap and a fish , that is just pure torture . Of course the trainers love them and their jobs and they get medical care they need but that does not justify what is going on ! I’m glad you got to do what you always dreamed because i could also in a heartbeat drive down to San Diego and go any time i want to pay 200$ to touch and swim with a dolphin , but no thanks I’d rather not give sea world that pleasure even though it has been a dream of mine since i was little to swim with dolphins I’m not going to make that dream a reality simply because IT’S NOT RIGHT !

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Rebecca May 10, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Here’s the thing. You don’t have the believe the allegations of abuse to be anti-Seaworld. You don’t have to agree with the documentary “Blackfish” to be anti-Seaworld. I have a marine biology degree, and have had internships studying Killer Whales extensively. These creatures are extremely social animals that thrive in family units, and travel up to 100 miles a day. Even if they are born in parks and are not stolen from the ocean, family units are separated (leading to depression and anxiety) and the whales become mentally unstable being kept in such a small space when their instincts tell them to travel wide ranges. It is cruel to keep these whales in cages and claim that they are safer in tanks than in the ocean. The life expectancy of wild killer whales is 50-75 years, and at Seaworld most don’t make it to 25. Don’t let Seaworld fool you, Killer whales are not happy in tanks, and they do not prefer human interaction to the interaction of their own kind.

    Like

  • Reply Kimmy May 10, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    We are destroying their habitat, the oceans, and imagining that they’re better off with the drag nets that fisherman leave behind. How many actually live past their 35th year in the wild? Percentage-wise? I don’t know. What I do know is that extinction is forever. “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will only understand what we are taught.” If we put more energy into conserving their environment and protecting them from the evils that men do, I would feel less inclined to want to keep them “safe” and in the much-less-than-ideal aquariums like Sea World.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Michelle May 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    There is no valid excuse, reason or justification for keeping wild creatures in captivity. We can learn about the in their world, not ours. To justify this by saying it’s the only way to save some species than you’re saying it’s okay that we’re driving them into extinction. Killer whales, dolphins, etc. belong in their environment, not ours and it’s cruel we hold them in small tanks, etc. You’re still a naïve 18 year old.

    Like

  • Reply Kas May 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    You do not need to see a movie to realize what places like SeaWord stand for. ANIMALS ARE NOT FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT. All you need is common sense to know that living in captivity and doing tricks, these animals would not normally do, is wrong. Also, there is no such a thing as “completely vegan,” it is either vegan or not. And as a “developing environmentalist” you still have a lot to learn…so forget about kissing dolphins or touching their flippers, they are not yours to touch or kiss by the way, and hit the books instead. Perhaps you can watch “The Cove” and find out how SeaWord got their first victims. If you loved dolphins, out of respect to them you would not go to place where they are being used.

    Like

  • Reply Victoria Arevalo May 11, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Hi Everybody.
    First of all, I want to thank you all for taking the time to read my article. Whether your comments were positive or negative, I appreciate you all expressing your opinions and sharing your feedback. I also want to remind you all that this is an OPINION article, and NOT AT ALL paid for. I promise you that I have not received ANYTHING from Sea World (and certainly will not). The point of this article was to express MY OPINION over a certain issue, and share MY EXPERIENCE. I respect everybody else’s opinion but NO ONE necessarily needs to agree with mine. We all have different perspectives and we are all entitled to express it, however I would really appreciate it if we all did it in a kind, educated manner, there is no need to put others down. Overall, I am glad that my article reached so many of you, and caught your attention.
    Again, thank you for you feedback.
    God Bless :)!!

    Like

  • Reply Victoria Arevalo May 11, 2016 at 9:54 am

    PS. I have a copy of every article I write, and of course, will look back on them years from now. Also, I can assure you that I AM in fact, an 18 year old, and certainly am not looking for money or attention. All I want is to express my opinion about the issues that I care about. Lastly, I wanted to clear the air and say that my college tuition is indeed paid for, but not because of Sea World as some of you claim, but rather because of an ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP that I was awarded thanks to MY HARD WORK AND DEDICATION in school.
    Spread love, not hate :)!

    Like

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