I admit that we were a bit torn on the idea of taking the girls to Sea World. There is something about the idea of such a beautiful animal being stuck in a large/small (depending on your viewpoint) swimming pool that breaks my heart. That being said, I have similar (though not quite as strong) feelings about any animal in even a common zoo, so we were able to look past those feelings and let the girls have this experience. I'm glad we did.
Daddy and I watched Black Fish a couple nights ago. We purposefully waited until AFTER our trip to Sea World because we knew we were already on the fence about the whole "orca in captivity" topic in the first place.
Watch it if you want. It's heart-breaking, for sure. There are definitely parts of the video that I agree with and other parts that I'm sure are one-sided and a bit jaded. Make your own opinion, but I think my general conclusion is that "documentaries" are likely to be misleading in order to make their case.
In the end, here is what I hope my children grow up to remember...
1. PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. I think what happened in the 70's and 80's in capturing wild orcas was despicable. But that was then. This is now. I could be wrong, but I don't THINK that stuff happens anymore. What we know now about Orcas is different than what we knew then.
2. MAKE THE MOST OF A BAD SITUATION. Now there are a bunch of not-so-wild orcas in captivity who likely would not survive the wild if they were released anyway (remember Willy?). So, why not make the most of what you have? Creating awareness and inspiration to get involved is HUGE. Zoos do so much for the outlook and respect that children have for wild animals. They participate in conservation in ways we may not appreciate. I'm sure Sea World is the same.
3. THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY COIN. For whatever reason Orcas have always pulled at my heart strings more than any other animal. Honestly? I wouldn't be surprised if that originated with Sea World. On the other hand, there is no denying that what you see in Black Fish is absolutely heart breaking. I have found myself going in circles on my personal level of support but I think it's OK to see both sides of the story and be torn and not feeling like it is a topic that leads to a black or white opinion or conclusion. I fall somewhere in the grey.
5. CREATE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS. Ok, so this one is more specific to Orcas than about animals in general. Orcas are truly a social animal, and they create bonds with their family members that even we may never understand their strength. We can look at them for inspiration on how we can better appreciate our own family. Cheesy I know, but I think there are cases where we, as humans, can learn from others what is truly and universally important.