A Vivid Example of Animal Rights in the Movie Blackfish

Blackfish is a 2013 documentary that explores the controversial subject of killer whales in captivity. It is the story of a famous killer whale named Tilikum that killed three people, including an expert whale trainer, while in captivity at Sea World. The filmmaker, Gabriella Cowperthwaite, attempted to explore the misconceptions and harmful living conditions that may be the root cause of why these animal violently attack their trainers as well as trying to bring awareness to the public and create a shift in attitude toward the question of whether these highly intelligent animals should be held in captivity for our entertainment.

In spite of low box office revenue, the film generated a larger audience online and through streaming services that resulted in popularity among animal rights activists. In contrast, large numbers of Sea World supporters have fought back by dispelling the film as simply propaganda driven by “animal rights activists posing as scientists”. Initially Sea World did not respond to the film.

They refused to do interviews to answer any claims of the film or to defend their practices. When they finally broke their silence, they launched a public relations campaign that centered around websites, videos and advertisements centered around attacking the credibility of those involved with the film rather that disputing the facts raised by the film. Both points of view have played out across the internet through blogs and social media sights such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The result is a mainstream and social media phenomena that has come to be known as the Blackfish Effect. In March of 2017, Sea World announced they would no longer continue breeding programs and would also end all orca shows at their 11 theme parks. After three years of pressure resulting from the film Blackfish, Sea World stock prices were down and California had proposed legislation to ban all orca performances in water parks.

While the filmmaker’s primary goal was to create public awareness of the issue, the Blackfish Effect had successfully brought about change through the strategies of grassroots activism and organizing, high profile media coverage, use of social media as a call to action and tapping into the emotions of the audience. Grassroots organizing is defined as a collective action from the local level to effect change at a national or international level which is typically more natural or spontaneous in nature. In the case of the film Blackfish, the filmmakers were hoping to create a shift in awareness beyond the scope of animal advocacy groups and whale conservation groups.

The result was an active mobilization of people who would boycott, donate and volunteer. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had an ongoing campaign against the captivity of orcas and filed a lawsuit against Sea World arguing the whales deserved protection under the 13th Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits slavery. Even though the suit was lost, the media coverage went a long way towards increasing awareness. Celebrities played a role in this by attracting attention through their twitter accounts. PETA also called for a boycott of Macy’s after it was announced Sea World would have a float in the Thanksgiving Parade.

All of these efforts helped to keep Sea World and Blackfish in the news. Media coverage is exactly what kept the Blackfish Effect going full steam ahead. Initially Sea World refused to comment on the picture. A few days prior to the film’s release in 2013, Sea World finally released a statement refuting the claims made by Cowperthwaite. This seemed to only increase the attention and coverage as well as raise public awareness. Sea World then launched a PR smear campaign of websites, videos and advertisements which attacked the people involved with making the film as “activists disguised as scientists.”

In response to schools cancelling overnight field trips at the parks, Sea World took out full page ads in eight newspapers refuting the allegations of mistreating animals and stated that park guests “see this story as an activist agenda.” Other animal advocacy groups such as the Humane Society, and Born Free Foundation used this media coverage to promote their own campaigns. Opinions and ideas rapidly reach millions through social media at a rapid speed through shares, retweets, likes, comments, and tags. Blackfish and Sea World made use of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube in very different ways. Some could argue that Blackfish had more of an open forum by allowing anyone to post or make comments on their Facebook page. This type of transparency does lend itself to false information and negative comments. Sea World however, created a Youtube channel but did not allow comments to be posted out of fear of criticism.

The main points of their campaign did not refute claims of the film, but rather attack those that made the film. The end result is Sea World losing in the court of public opinion as evidenced by the loss in stock value and lower attendance in the parks. The film Blackfish did an excellent job of tapping into the emotions of viewers which undoubtedly has led to the demise of Sea World. The film portrays the horrors that occur after being captured from the wild and essentially enslaved in theme parks for the public’s entertainment. Blackfish details how these social animals live in claustrophobic tanks in solitary confinement with insufficient room to swim.

The viewer is left with the impression that Orca’s are essentially kidnapped from their ocean environment. Perhaps the most heart wrenching aspect of the film is how the babies born in captivity are with their mothers for the first few years but when it reaches a certain age it is sold. The mother whale is distraught and cries out frantically trying to communicate with her baby. The viewer cannot help but have empathy for the suffering of these peaceful and intelligent animals. A current comparison of this separation could be the plight of immigrant families being separated as they illegally cross the border in to the United States. The public at large struggles with the idea of children being removed from their parents and respond emotionally. Ultimately the government was forced to change the policy on separation as it was a hot button issue.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Business and administrative studies
excellent job thank you Your Score 166.25/ 175- A 1. Current Culture 15% of total grade 18.37 Criterion "1. Current Culture" has textual feedback Criterion Feedback I see interesting points, though, in general they are not about the culture.
Customer 452773, June 4th, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, June 25th, 2023
Social Work and Human Services
Great work I would love to continue working with this writer thought out the 11 week course.
Customer 452667, May 30th, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
Customer 452773, July 11th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
excellent job! got an A, thank you
Customer 452773, May 24th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Excellent job
Customer 452773, March 9th, 2023
Leadership Studies
excellent job
Customer 452773, August 26th, 2023
Business Studies
Thank you very much for a good job done and a quick turn around time.
Customer 452615, March 31st, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Customer 452773, February 23rd, 2023
Customer 452773, January 25th, 2024
Thank you!
Customer 452545, February 6th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work and help
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp