Blackfish as a Platform for Animal Rights

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The death of Dawn Brancheau made national news back in 2010. Dawn was working as an orca trainer at the SeaWorld of Orlando when the tragic accident occurred. While doing a relationship session with Tilikum, the largest orca in captivity, Dawn was pulled into the water and drowned. It was a story that not only shocked the nation but left people wondering how something so horrible could happen. Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s use of the accounts of retired SeaWorld trainers exposed the harsh reality of captured animals in her documentary Blackfish. In creating a piece focused on the life of one orca, Cowperthwaite has allowed viewers to look into the lives of captured animals and has shown the greater social issue of animal rights, the treatment of animals for research and the need for actions. Animal rights has been a topic of interest in society for many years. There is an extreme form of animal rights where these extremists believe people should not own house pets and should not eat anything that comes from an animal. But there is a less extreme form of animals rights, “one movement is that of the traditional humane interest groups who feel that their goals embody an enhancement of the animals’ life quality. They care for stray animals, fight animal abuse… and generally concern themselves with ‘quality of life’ issues” and this is the type of animal right that will be dealt with in this paper (Silberman 161). Quality of life is what the orcas in captivity are missing. Sure, they are not being hunted and killed by fishermen, but they are basically being kept as pets in a giant bathtub. They live a scheduled life where they must work for every fish they get to eat. Tilikum for example, is not well liked by the other killer whales. He is... ... middle of paper ... ...and Ethics." Journal of Mammalogy 75.1 (1994): 219-23. JSTOR. Web. 28 Jan. 2014. . Burford, Mahalia. "Response to Blackfish: A Case for SeaWorld." Journal of Law and Public Policy. N.p., 6 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Dec. 2014. . Cowperthwaite, Gabriela, dir. Blackfish. Magnolia Pictures, 2013. Film. Jasper, James M., and Jane Poulsen. "Fighting Back: Vulnerabilities, Blunders, and Countermobilization by the Targets in Three Animal Rights Campaigns." Sociological Forum 8.4 (1993): 639-57. JSTOR. Web. 28 Jan. 2014. . Silberman, Morton S. "Animal Welfare, Animal Rights: The Past, the Present, and the 21st Century." Journal of Zoo Animal Medicine 19.4 (1988): 161-67. JSTOR. Web. 28 Jan. 2014. .

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