SeaWorld San Diego to end Orca shows? not quite.

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SeaWorld San Diego to end Orca shows? not quite.

The internet was flooded yesterday with news that SeaWorld San Diego planned to end its live Orca performances.

Report: SeaWorld to End Killer Whale Shows in San Diego - Newsweek

Turns out most reports were not completely accurate as SeaWorld San Diego is only phasing out the current version of the show. The Orcas will remain at SeaWorld San Diego and a new killer whale experience will be introduced.

SeaWorld to replace 'Shamu' killer whale show in San Diego - Reuters

The new show will 'include conservation messaging and tips guests can take home to make a difference for orcas in the wild,' said CEO Joel Manby.

Slate gives a good analysis on what this announcement actually means:

Bad News, Animal Lovers: SeaWorld Isn’t Really Ending Its Killer Whale Show - Slate

This change has only been announced for its San Diego park, leaving no planned changes at the Florida or Texas parks.

The San Diego Union-Tribune interviewed Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite:

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Cowperthwaite said in a phone interview from Spain, where she’s working on her latest documentary.

“My understanding is that SeaWorld may not be stopping the orca show at all. They may simply be repackaging it so that orcas will perform more natural-looking tricks in new choreographed acts,” she added. “I hope I’m wrong and that this is not simply a slick rebranding.”

 

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The Blackfish Effect: SeaWorld profits drop 84%

The Blackfish Effect: SeaWorld profits drop 84%

Blackfish was released in 2013 and revealed the story of Tilikum, a performing whale that killed several people while in captivity. It exposed the reality of animals in captivity at parks such as SeaWorld and had a huge effect on the perception of Marine Parks.

Two years on - SeaWorld is struggling and has reported a 84% drop in profits! SeaWorld referred to 'brand challenges' when discussing the figures which included a huge drop in attendance rates.

The news of the drop in attendance and profits has spread across the world with publications like The Guardian and TIME discussing the Blackfish effect.

In the news:

SeaWorld sees profits plunge 84% as customers desert controversial park - The Guardian

Seaworld’s Profits Drop 84% After Blackfish Documentary - TIME

 

Dogwoof and Blackfish are so grateful for your support since the release of the film. Stay in touch with us online using #Blackfish and help us #EmptyTheTanks

 

 

 
 
 
 

Harry Styles says don't go to SeaWorld

Harry Styles says don't go to SeaWorld

Harry Styles tells One Direction fans: 'Don't Go to SeaWorld'

One Direction is currently on tour in the USA, at a recent show in San Diego singer Harry Styles told fans 'Don't go to SeaWorld.' Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams captured the moment on camera and shared it on Instagram:

 

SeaWorld responded on twitter, but the message was heard loud and clear by One Direction fans worldwide.

 

PETA claims that SeaWorld sent in a spy acting as an animal rights activist

There was shocking news earlier this week that a SeaWorld employee had infiltrated animal rights groups and posed as an animal rights activist. Earlier this week PETA accused activist Thomas Jones of being Paul T. McComb, a SeaWorld employee.

You can decide for yourself, below left is a photo of Thomas Jones boycotting SeaWorld and right is a photo of SeaWorld employee Paul T. McComb.

Read more on this story via The Dodo.

Company shares of SeaWorld Entertainment drop 5.1% in one week

Since the release of Blackfish, there has been a huge drop in attendance and stock prices of SeaWorld. At the end of last month, SeaWorld shares dropped a staggering 5.1% in one week.

Read more on this via News Watch International.

Jurassic World and its Resemblance to Blackfish

Jurassic World and its Resemblance to Blackfish

Blackfish and Jurassic World

Similarites between the new cinema release Jurassic World and the 2013 documentary Blackfish are being noticed by moviegoers all over.

There is no doubt that Jurassic World touched on animal rights through the dinosaurs' captivity which was eerily similar to the captivity of killer whales in Blackfish. According to the Washington Post, "The [Jurassic World] filmmakers not-so-doubtedly raise ideas about the moral issues of raising animal in captivity - and what can go horribly wrong." 

Banning cetacean captivity

In other Blackfish news, Canada is making big moves in banning the captivity of whales and dolphins. A canadian senator introduced a federal bill that would make captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises illegal. You can read more details on this and other moves to ban captivity via Vice.

63 countries currently hold cetaceans in captivity, with the highest numbers found in Japan, China, USA, Russia and Mexico. Countries that have banned the keeping of dolphins in captivity so far include Croatia, Cyprus and Switzerland. Read more on the current state of Cetaceans in captivity from BornFree.org.uk

Kelly Slater, surfer, has something to say to SeaWorld

My name is Kelly Slater, and I’m here on behalf of PETA. The veil has been lifted on SeaWorld. All the ads in the world won’t change what the public now knows to be true: that the company imprisons highly intelligent, emotionally complex, social animals in tiny, barren concrete tanks, which leads to aggression and disease.

SeaWorld is experiencing declining attendance and revenue, and dozens of companies, including Southwest Airlines, Panama Jack, and Mattel, have recently ended partnerships with SeaWorld.

As a professional surfer, I’m lucky and privileged to be able to spend the majority of my time in the ocean – it’s the place where I feel most at home, and thus, I feel an obligation to protect that which I have a voice in influencing.

Please, tell us, when will SeaWorld allow the animals it holds captive to return to their home – the ocean – by retiring them to a seaside sanctuary? And wouldn’t this at least be viewed, if nothing else, as a public relations win for you?

By righting the wrongs you have committed in the name of corporate profit for so many years, you may actually be able to recoup some of the respect that has been lost in the eyes of the public and work toward an end to the problem of animal suffering. Thank you.

You can read more on why SeaWorld didn't hear this message from Kelly on Surfer Magazine.

Dogwoof and Blackfish are so grateful for your support since the release of the film. Stay in touch with us online using #Blackfish and help us #EmptyTheTanks

 

 

 
 
 
 

Blackfish's impact on SeaWorld

Blackfish's impact on SeaWorld

Released in July 2013, Gabriela Cowperthwaite's Blackfish is proof that documentaries can change the world we live in. Since the release of the film, SeaWorld has suffered many repercussions. Here's an overview of the main milestones:

The first main consequence of the release of Blackfish was the drop in attendance and a drop in profit. This article from The Daily Mail dates the loss in profit compared to the expectations at $42 million in August 2014. Read more.

Affecting even more the future of the company was the loss of the investors trusts. SeaWorld shares dropped by 33% according to The Guardian by August 2014. Read more.

The latest devlopement was the resignation of SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison during December 2014 due to growing pressure from the release of Blackfish and the animal rights organisation PETA. Read more.

This resignation also had unfortunate human consequences on the workforce at SeaWorld. A 300-person lay off was announced only a few days after the resignation of Jim Atchison. Read more.

The Blackfish/SeaWorld saga isn't close to being over. We'll keep you informed of all the latest developments.

The Blackfish Effect: Seaworld Stock drops 30%

The Blackfish Effect: Seaworld Stock drops 30%

SeaWorld stock took a huge fall yesterday after they published their second quarter earnings, with stock dropping more than 30% and causing an onslaught of media attention. Dogwoof released the documentary Blackfish, which follows the story of Tilikum,a performing killer whale currently held in captivity at SeaWorld, last July and since then the 'Blackfish Effect' has caused many people to change their opinion on keeping orcas in captivity in marine parks like SeaWorld.

With revenue and attendance down, in its earnings report SeaWorld stated it "believes attendance in the (second) quarter was impacted by demand pressures related to recent media attention surrounding proposed legislation in the state of California", referencing the proposed Blackfish Bill. This bill is just one instance in a long line of events triggered by the release of Blackfish, from artists like Willie Nelson cancelling live gigs at SeaWorld, Pixar changing the ending of their upcoming film Finding Dory, and earlier this month the announcement that Southwest Airlines were ending their partnership with SeaWorld.

This morning the papers and news websites are full of stories about Blackfish and the SeaWorld stock plunge, for more detail and financial analysis read the links below.

Update 16th August SeaWorld have now announced that they will build new, larger environments for their killer whales. Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite responds below

Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite said the changes won't please the public or improve the lives of its whales. She said that in captivity the whales are forcibly bred, separated from their families and fight constantly for dominance. She added that the larger tanks may not mean the whales will have more room, as SeaWorld plans to expand to other countries and could use the additional space to breed the whales more often.

 “I do appreciate the fact that SeaWorld is willing to admit that something is wrong, for the first time, but the problem is, instead of changing their business model, they’re doubling down.”

"None of this would change in a bigger pool," she said. "What people are upset about is that whales are not suitable to captivity."

Cowperthwaite said SeaWorld should instead create oceanic sanctuaries that will let the whales live out their lives in more natural environments.

Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

Blackfish is available to own on DVD and Blu-ray now, and can also be watched via iTunes or Dogwoof.TV. For a full list of links to watch the film wherever you are in the world, visit BlackfishMovie.com

The LA Times: SeaWorld stock falls 33% as orca controversy hurts attendance

IndieWire: Blackfish Backlash Hurts SeaWorld's Bottom Line

Buisness Insider: SeaWorld is Crashing

Time: SeaWorld’s Revenue Belly-Flops After Killer Whale Concerns

Blackfish Responds to SeaWorld's Latest Critique

Blackfish Responds to SeaWorld's Latest Critique

BLACKFISH RESPONDS TO SEAWORLD’S LATEST CRITIQUE

SeaWorld has issued yet another critique against the film, Blackfish. This critique is more detailed, yet is equally specious and misleading. So, once again, the Blackfish production team has crafted a rebuttal.

What makes this latest effort unique is the timing. It comes on the heels of AB2140, the groundbreaking legislation that seeks to bring an end to “orcas for entertainment” in California.

Although Blackfish served as a portal of entry for the many controversial issues surrounding whales in captivity and trainer safety, the bill was introduced because millions have since chosen to seek their own answers. And they have largely come to the same conclusion as the film: killer whales are not suited to captivity and the trainers who work in close proximity to them aren’t safe (a conclusion reaffirmed by the recent U.S. Court Of Appeals rejection of SeaWorld’s appeal of OSHA’s citations). 

Furthermore, Blackfish exercised considerable discipline in its storytelling, choosing not to cover the many issues that are now surfacing about SeaWorld:

• The administration of benzodiazepine (valium) to many killer whales who are said to be experiencing grief, stress or anxiety.
• The circumstances surrounding the deaths of multiple whales
• The circumstances involving the injuries of multiple trainers
• The scant amount of revenues (roughly .06% of $1.5 billion a year) that SeaWorld puts toward conservation.
• SeaWorld’s ongoing methods of obtaining marine mammals from the wild

Although the attention paid to these issues seems to be growing daily by an increasingly informed public, SeaWorld continues to deny—despite the evidence – that trainers assume an inappropriate amount of risk and that the welfare of its killer whales is compromised by captivity. The issue is not whether SeaWorld has world-class facilities, as it insists at every turn. The issue is whether the care and environment SeaWorld can provide its killer whales can meet their needs and whether trainers left to administer the care can do so safely. Blackfish—by documenting the health issues, the whale-on-whale and whale-on-trainer aggressions, as well as the compromised lives and social experience of SeaWorld’s killer whales—makes clear that SeaWorld cannot give its killer whales lives that are in any way adequate.

That is the core issue raised by Blackfish, and that is an issue that SeaWorld never directly addresses in its critiques of Blackfish or in its public relations campaign in response to Blackfish.

That said, we look forward to the day when they do. We can then stop engaging in these back-and-forth exercises and search for a solution together. We continue to invite SeaWorld to be partners in an open discussion about a new business model, one that evolves away from animals for entertainment toward more dignified and sustainable models.

Blackfish director given Impact Award

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Blackfish director given Impact Award

Over the weekend Blackfish Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite was presented with the Impact Award at the Humane Society of the United States’ 60th Anniversary Gala in California. Actress Kate Mara presented Cowperthwaite with the Impact Award awarded for the documentary and the widespread attention brought by its in-depth look at whales held in captivity at marine parks. Michelle Cho of the Humane Society says the film represents "the first time anyone has shed a global spotlight on captive orcas."

Cowperthwaite was there to accept the award and thanked viewers and supporters for giving her film a chance; “Thank you for letting me be someone who took her kids to SeaWorld, Blackfish worked because all of us involved with the film – former SeaWorld trainers, whale capturers, me who took my kids there – all did something we didn’t know we were doing at the time and we weren’t proud of in retrospect.”

Since its establishment 60 years ago, The Humane Society of the United Sates has grown exponentially with now millions of supporters, 630 employees and a $170 million budget. The organization is marking this six-decade achievement with a series of three parties, starting last weekend in Beverly Hills. The dinner event acknowledged Hollywood and celebrity activists, including Kesha, James Cromwell, and “Vampire Diaries” Paul Wesley, who have supported the organization’s cause through involvement and donations.

Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

You can order your own copy of Blackfish Blu-ray or DVD or watch online now, and for those outside the UK or Ireland, you can find out where to watch the film here.

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Millions support 'Blackfish' bill

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Millions support 'Blackfish' bill

The impact of Dogwoof documentary Blackfish has continued to grow since release, as this week a piece of Californian legislation inspired by the film amassed over a million signatures of support online, and the first stage of a similar New York bill was approved by Senate committee.

In the state of California, legislation was proposed on 7 March that would ban the use of Orca’s for entertainment purposes in amusement park acts. "It is time that we embrace that the long-accepted practice of keeping Orcas captive for human amusement must end," stated Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica who proposed the bill. Meanwhile in New York, a bill that would ban keeping orca whales in captivity passed in the state’s Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation this week. Proposed by Sen. Greg Ball, Senate Bill 6613 would ban “the possession and harboring of killer whales in New York State aquariums and sea parks.”

Blackfish Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite with bill proposer Richard Bloom

The bills have been brought about in response to Blackfish, which tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. An online petition supporting the California bill has already garned over a million signatures, with support from many corners including the likes of Stephen Fry over on Twitter:

 

 

 

Since Blackfish was released, the film has inspired many people to change their ideas on marine parks. From celebrities speaking out on Twitter, protests outside venues where whales are held in captivity, to changes to Pixar's upcoming Finding Nemo sequel, and famous bands withdrawing from scheduled gigs at the parks, these bills are a huge step in the direction towards change.

 

 

Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

You can order your own copy of Blackfish Blu-ray or DVD or watch online now, and for those outside the UK or Ireland, you can find out where to watch the film here.

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Bands cancel SeaWorld gigs after viewing Blackfish

Bands cancel SeaWorld gigs after viewing Blackfish

Since the release of Dogwoof documentary Blackfish earlier this year, the film has inspired many people to change their ideas on marine parks. From famous celebrities speaking out on Twitter, protests outside venues where whales are held in captivity, to changes to Pixar's upcoming Finding Nemo sequel, over the last week a wave of activity has also caught the headlines as bands scheduled to perform at SeaWorld Olrlando next year have cancelled their upcoming gigs.

First came Barenaked Ladies who decided to canel their performance after a viewing of Blackfish, then Willie Nelson pulled out, although the SeaWorld press release claimed this was due to 'scheduling conflicts'. Then over the weekend Heart also revealed they were cancelling, again following a watch of Blackfish. We wait to see if more of the bands scheduled to play will follow suit.
UPDATE 11th December: band Cheap Trick have also now confirmed they have cancelled their performance.
UPDATE 12th December: Trisha Yearwood has also now pulled out of her performance
UPDATE 13th December REO Speedwagon have cancelled too
UPDATE 14th December Martina McBride cancels
UPDATE 16th December 38 Special have also cancelled after the film raised concerns for them
UPDATE 9th January Trace Adkins has also cancelled 

Elsewhere Joan Jett has also written to SeaWorld asking them to stop using her songs after the singer saw the film, as has Savage Garden's Darren Hayes

Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

You can order your own copy of Blackfish Blu-ray or DVD now from Amazon or the Dogwoof DVD shop. The film can also be watched via iTunes or on Dogwoof.TV for members, and for readers in the US, the film is also now out to own - order the DVD here or Blu-ray here.

For more information on the film, visit blackfishmovie.com, and follow the film on Facebook and Twitter