Blackfish in Moscow (ID)

From Voice of the Orcas Website. 

3 members of VOTO joined forces with science writer Rachel Clark and her husband, professor Chris Caudill, PhD, in Moscow, Idaho, USA, for a Blackfish movie Q&A, followed by a symposium. These events occurred on Thursday & Friday, October 16-17, 2014, and involved the historic Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, the local food Co-op, & the colleges of Natural Resources and Law at the University of Idaho. Dr Caudill, an expert on salmon from the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources, lectured on the connection between salmon & the resident eco-type killer whales native to the Pacific Northwest. Please check back as links, photos, and more videos will be added as they become available. Annotations have been added to the Q&A. 

KLEW local news story on this event: 

Three members of VOTO, Jeffrey Ventre MD, Samantha Berg, & John Jett PhD, joined forces with science writer Rachel Clark and her salmon-expert husband, professor Chris Caudill, PhD, in Moscow, Idaho, USA, for a Blackfish movie Q&A, followed by a symposium.

These events occurred on Thursday October 16-17, 2014 and involved the historic Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, the local food Co-op, & the colleges of Natural Resources and Law at the University of Idaho.   

Above is Part 1 of the Q&A at the Kenworthy 

Here’s Part 2: http://youtu.be/VhwQajcasKw

Humanity Is Getting Verrrrrrry Close to Extinction | VICE United States

Incredible interview with Gab.

Last year & remarkable. Never saw… 

Published on Sep 4, 2013

Killer whales at SeaWorld are looked at and the truth about their conditions and abuse are shown in the new documentary, BLACKFISH. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite went inside SeaWorld to show how Orcas turn on their handlers and how the animals suffer from being shipped around the world and treated abusively. It is a striking film that is shared here on BYOD with clips and in-depth discussion.

Blackfish - Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet this mighty black and white mammal has many sides — a majestic, friendly giant, seemingly eager to take trainers for a ride around the pool, yet shockingly — and unpredictably — able to turn on them at a moment’s notice. BLACKFISH unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who — unlike any orca in the wild — has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what went wrong?

Shocking, never before seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans truly know about these highly intelligent, and surprisingly sentient, fellow mammals that we only think we can control.

Gabriela Cowperthwaite - Gabriela Cowperthwaite is a documentary filmmaker who for more than 12 years has directed, produced and written documentary programs for television networks including ESPN, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery and History.

In 2010, Cowperthwaite completed the award winning feature length documentary, City LAX: An Urban Lacrosse Story. The film chronicles the lives of six 12-year-olds in inner-city Denver, CO, as they and their families struggle through middle school in their gang-ridden neighborhoods. City LAX was acquired by ESPN and DirectTV.

In 2009, Cowperthwaite completed a film for UCLA International Medicine in conjunction with the International Rescue Committee, which focuses on clinics in war-torn regions, with the emphasis on providing ground-breaking medical care for victims of violence. It has been translated into three different languages and will be distributed in eight countries.

Cowperthwaite, who is Los Angeles based, is currently directing a campaign for Supply and Demand, a commercial directing agency based in New York and Los Angeles.

Proof That YOUR Voice Can Bring a Multi-Billion Dollar Company, like SeaWorld, to Their Knees

The Blackfish Effect Map Tour

Randy By Nature: “SHAMU OR SCAMU?” (Episode 15)

Incredible performance about captivity by… 

Alex Wichert



Blackfish Cast Exclusive: Ex-Trainers Say SeaWorld Must Evolve Now

SeaWorld finally acknowledged “The Blackfish Effect” on August 13th, 2014, when the reporting of weak park attendance and distorted projections caused an abrupt decline in the value of their stock. In an effort to stave off proposed California legislation banning captive breeding and to shore up diminishing attendance and plummeting stock prices, SeaWorld recently announced plans to expand their killer whale tanks.

Moving whales to slightly larger tanks neglects the fundamental moral, ethical and health considerations that have caused the public to reject their business practices in the first place.

The proposal to build larger tanks is, as the saying goes, all sizzle. But, there is a simple and economically viable solution to the problem of SeaWorld’s growing exodus of paying guests. A solution exists that will allow SeaWorld to appeal to a society quickly evolving on the issue. Rather than glitzy gimmick and flashy advertising, SeaWorld must announce an end to the captive breeding of their killer whales. SeaWorld must market themselves as an improved company that focuses on accurate and innovative education and directs energy, effort and resources toward substantial marine conservation.    

This evolution would represent a monumental change in purpose as SeaWorld has never been about education or conservation. Clear evidence of the latter can be observed in their absent reaction to the Pacific Northwest tragedy they helped create. By supplying their tanks with so many whales captured from wild family pods, SeaWorld contributed to the current “endangered” listing of the Southern Resident killer whales. Despite this inconvenient reality, SeaWorld has never provided funding, personnel, expertise or resources toward saving the population they decimated.

The public is catching on to a company that has, until recently, enjoyed complete and total control of their message.

SeaWorld has benefited from genius marketing and communication programming, which has for many years served them quite well or at least until February 24, 2010 when trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by SeaWorld’s male killer whale, Tilikum. But the sizzle is waning, the steak is mostly absent, and the cat is clearly out of the bag. SeaWorld must chart a new course as a leader in marine issues. They have the resources, and the world’s oceans would benefit from strong corporate representation. Amazing progress could be made if SeaWorld aimed their lobby money, political donations, and part of their advertising budget at issues that truly helped the oceans. For example, SeaWorld could wield their political influence and monetary resources to assist declining salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest. In short, SeaWorld could help save the very population of wild killer whales they’ve harmed. Such a gesture would warm the hearts of millions. The turnstiles would begin spinning again.

Alternatively, SeaWorld can choose to fade into irrelevance by failing to acknowledge the reality of their predicament. By redirecting their efforts and by announcing an end to captive breeding, and thus an eventual end to captivity, it’s our belief that a new respect for SeaWorld could be won. In the interim the parks could continue to profit from those whales already part of their collection.

Unfortunately, instead of evolving, SeaWorld has announced plans for expansion into overseas markets, including Russia, China, and the Middle East. They will soon take their show and their whales to places with fewer regulations, and for the time being, seemingly less negative public sentiment toward the practice. Precedent for this is demonstrated in their “arrangement” with Loro Parque in the Canary Islands. These endeavors may be financially lucrative for a while; at least until citizens in those countries also come to the realization that killer whales don’t belong in tanks. Like those currently held in U.S. facilities, killer whales in foreign tanks will also have broken teeth, chronic infections, collapsed dorsal fins, sunburns, shortened lifespans, and missing families. Young whales will still be separated from their mothers. Spin cannot replace reality, and the reality is that killer whale captivity doesn’t work for the animals, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that it fails as a sustainable business model. Our planet needs help and it is our genuine hope that SeaWorld will ultimately reject their current model, and instead evolve to meet the public’s diminishing acceptance of the unnecessary exploitation of killer whales and other animals.

The evidence to date, however, suggests otherwise.

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