January 15, 2015: Please Don’t Buy a Ticket

January 14, 2015

The Editor, Times-Colonist:

Florida looks appealing when the Victoria days are cool and grey, but we haven’t had a lot of that this year. Even in years when we do, please don’t follow the getaway advice of Ellen Creager of the Detroit Free Press in her article published in the Times-Colonist on January 10th, “View From the Top: What’s New in Orlando“.

SeaWorld Orlando is not only “unpopular with animal-rights activists”; it’s anathema to increasing numbers of people and to anyone who attended one of the 18 showings of “Blackfish” at UVic’s Cinecenta last year or who viewed it on Netflix or television. That’s why attendance at cruel captive orca spectacles is falling. “Blackfish” focuses on the ruined life of Tilikum, an orca taken from Icelandic waters and his family as a baby, and the tragic results of that capture here in Victoria where he once was captive, and in 2010 Orlando. The negative effects of captivity on orcas is generalizable from his experience.

The level of denial necessary to call the Sea World dolphin show “joyous” is astounding. Orcas are members of the dolphin family, order cetacea, as are the marine mammals we commonly call dolphins. Cetaceans all have demonstrated high intelligence, self awareness, complex social orders, and physical needs for high levels of physical activity in long distance swimming. Orca and other dolphin intelligence and emotional awareness equals or surpasses ours. This is not “anthropomorphism” (an antique term the usefulness of which is past) ; it is research-proven.

To describe captive dolphins performing in mind-numbing repetitive routines for dead fish as a “joyous” spectacle is beyond belief. The sad sight of the mind in the waters slowly dying is what these shows really present.

Please don’t buy a ticket.

Blackfish Tillikum

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