blackfishThere has been a ton of buzz around the documentary Blackfish as of late, and I recently realized it was conveniently available for streaming through Netflix and yet I was hesitant to watch the film. My roommate had recommended Blackfish to me several weeks before, but a selfish part of me really didn’t want to watch something that would alter a happy fragment of my childhood. My hometown is San Antonio, one of the three locations of SeaWorld parks in the nation, the other two being located in San Diego and Orlando. I visited SeaWorld several times as a kid, some summers my neighbors and I even had season passes and spent much of our time in the water park and enjoying the animal exhibits. The last time I can recall going to SeaWorld was on fifth grade field trip, where we ate lunch in the stadium where the killer whales performed their shows. Having a SeaWorld in my hometown always felt like a privilege. Between the dazzling whale shows and the cute stuffed animals, it had never occurred to me or anyone I knew for that matter that SeaWorld was conducting business in a way that harmful to their animals or dangerous to their employees. I’m not going to lie to you, this documentary was incredibly painful to watch in relation to the human tragedy, and also the pain caused to the killer whales. However, I am glad that I got to hear another side of the story than what I’ve seen in ads and at SeaWorld all my life.

The documentary creates a good balance of information for the case against keeping whales in captivity, including first accounts of witnesses of tragedies involving killer wales, former SeaWorld trainers, and various segments of media involving the company and other similar theme parks. At the time of the film being made, SeaWorld declined to comment on the issues raised. However, after the film’s release, it created a PR headache for the company , and issues that had to be addressed. You can read SeaWorld’s side of the story from their official website: “The Truth About Blackfish “ .