What is it with dolphins and whales?  Why on earth do we seem to think that it is OK to catch them from the wild, stick them in concrete tanks in water that is full of chemicals, train them to perform inane tricks and then say they love it?

Anyone who hasn’t seen the film Blackfish yet (see BBC4 9 pm on Thursday 21st November, and again on Monday 25th ), I strongly recommend you do if you want to understand what life in captivity is like for an orca and the lengths to which the captive industry will go to profit from their captive exploitation and to keep the public oblivious to the truth. This is your one-stop shop of horrors.

If you want to go from the sublime to the ridiculous then look no further than Stephen the beluga.  Born in captivity in Russia this unfortunate individual is now in Pakistan (yes, Pakistan, known for its highly developed sense of marine mammal welfare).  Stephen will be performing three times a day at the Maritime Museum in Karachi and I sadly predict his chances of long-term survival are slim.

And if you have to ask yourself why does the captive industry go to such lengths to acquire and hold on to animals like orca, beluga and dolphins, it is because they are so commercially valuable.

I just returned from Tenerife where I saw Morgan (a young wild-caught female orca, originally from Norway via the Netherlands to Tenerife) performing at Loro Parque. A young breeding female in a captive population of orca worldwide that is heavily inter-related.  I am told she is worth US10 million – a new blood-line.

I watched the show with a sinking feeling.

Conservation?  It was conspicuous by its absence.

Education?  A veneer on the surface of the pool.

Morgan should be back with her wild family off the coast of Norway doing what wild orca do but until we can persuade the tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of tourists that go to these shows that this is not something they should be supporting, then the mighty Euro, Dollar and Yuan, rules the day.

So, what to do?


Stay away and don’t give these water circuses the profits they crave and spread the word to friends, family, and everyone you know.

In the 1970’s there were numerous captive dolphin shows in the UK. Today there are none. Freedom is not a dream!

Blogging off


7 Responses to “A WHALE OF A TIME?”

  1. Donna Mackenzie Says:

    Just watched Blackfish, thanks Will for letting us know it was on. They kept using the term ‘whale trainer’ but these 2 words just do not sit well together.

    I’ve never had the misfortune to see any of these ‘shows’ live, they’re difficult enough to watch on tv. Just surprised that, given the emotional and psychological damage done to these magnificent creatures by captivity, there haven’t been more human fatalities.

    Well done to all involved with the film. As well as helping bring an end to these insane shows hopefully Blackfish will make more people aware of the plight of all wild creatures in captivity.

  2. Catherine Clarke Says:

    I have never been and will never go to these places. You can have my word on that.

  3. Jenny Bates Says:

    I vowed, 44 years ago, that I would never visit another Marine Park. That was after visiting Marineland in Morecambe, Lancashire, aged just 7. I also recall telling my mother that I thought one of those creatures would seriously injure a trainer one day.
    I have never wanted to visit another sea circus since then!
    They are awful places!

  4. Paula Ferrant Says:

    I watched “blackfish” actually by mistake after watching another documentary. I found it deeply disturbing & sickening to the point of having nightmares about the poor creature called Tilikum. It was so awful to see these majestic creatures caged & trained to do such unnatural things, I cannot fathom how these people think it is alright to continue to do such things. I shall make my experience known, a small act I know but I don’t know where else to start. Thank you to Born Free for all you x

  5. Bethany Says:

    I found the documentary very eye opening and I am glad that you advertised it for it was on a channel that I don’t normally watch. People assume that animals in captivity are being looked after and cared for well but to make an animal perform tricks, normally for food, and be locked in little shallows pools for their entire life…that is not being ‘cared for’. I hope BFF keeps up their wonderful work.

  6. Liz Says:

    I was surprised not only by the lack of respect for the whales but also for the trainers.
    whenever anything when wrong they blamed the trainers, so I suppose if they treat their staff like that there’s no way they’re going to treat the whales any differently.
    I think there could have been more news coverage by the BBC, it wasn’t mentioned at all. people need to know about this.

  7. marja lilljegren Says:

    I hope the rest of the world will follow UK in letting the captive dolphines and whales to stay in their natural environment! Circus is a cursed world, and word.