Whales in Captivity Show: “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, and Annelise Sorg of No Whales in Captivity

Here’s this week’s podcast!

This show starts with a discussion about wild animals in captivity, and a few of the reasons why this may not be the ideal place for them to live.

Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of “Blackfish” 

We share an interview with Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of the highly anticipated film, Blackfish, about an orca kept in captivity named Tilikum. Blackfish shows the often devastating consequences of keeping such highly intelligent and emotionally advanced animals in captivity. It also goes into the very shady side of the Aquapark industry, highlighting deaths and injuries to trainers and the many attempts to obscure the truth.

Blackfish is playing at Vancity theatre in Vancouver August 2-11, 16-17, 2013. Click here for more info and tickets.

No Whales In Captivity

We speak with Annelise Sorg of the local animal rights organization – No Whales in Captivity.  Since 1992, NWIC has been working towards ending the captivity of whales and other cetaceans, and was instrumental in getting the orcas out of the Vancouver Aquarium in 2001.

We discuss the suffering that cetaceans undergo in captivity, as well as chat about the upcoming international Empty the Tanks day.






3 comments for “Whales in Captivity Show: “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, and Annelise Sorg of No Whales in Captivity

  1. John
    July 7, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks for another great show! I heard this interesting info on CBC quirks & quarks recently from an interview with a professor from Exeter University. The study found that in the wild orcas (particularly the male of the species) depend on their mother for support and protection until the mother dies of old age around 90 years… which makes a very strong argument against splitting families up and against solitary confinement. Here’s a bit from the NYTimes reporting about the research study which was published in Science “…Females stop reproducing in their 30s and 40s, but they can live into their 90s. Using 36 years of data on orcas in the Pacific Northwest, the researchers found that for males over 30, the death of a mother meant an eightfold increase in the likelihood of death within a year…”


  2. July 25, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Re: Blackfish Movie Shows Exclusive Lifeforce Footage of Tilikum

    In the early 90s the Vancouver based ecology organization, Lifeforce, investigated the inhume imprisonment of a male orca and two females at Sealand of the Pacific, Victoria, BC. A “holding module” was used to keep the three orcas contained overnight. Few have seen inside. This rare Lifeforce footage has been used in the Blackfish movie.

    Lifeforce Founder, Peter Hamilton, had stated that this cruel imprisonment resulted in physical and psychology abuses that made them dangerously aggressive. Lifeforce advised Sea World to not put anyone in the water with Tilikum.

    During the investigation of the death at Sea World Florida was contacted by OSHA (US Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Lifeforce provided letters etc. proving that Sea World was fully aware of the dangers.

    “It is great to see the Blackfish movie expose the cruelties resulting from keeping orcas in captivity, stated Peter Hamilton, Founder of Lifeforce, The Vancouver Aquarium started the orca slave trade in 1964 after their harpooned orcas survived and attracted crowds. In BC and WA, 68 were captured and at least 13 others died during captures. In spite of capture bans in North America, Sea Worlds, Marineland in Ontario, and others shamefully continue to capture orcas and other dolphins in other countries. The public can boycott aquariums to stop this slave trade.”

    Background: “Tilikum: A Time for Change”

    As with other orcas and dolphins imprisoned in aquarium tanks there is an extreme history of physical and psychological abuse. In this case, during evenings Tilikum and two females were lock up in a steel pen called the “holding module”. It measured only approximately 25′ x 30′ . And it was only 12′ deep.

    Nootka IV was sent to SeaWorld Florida. She died after 12 years of captivity. Haida and son Ky were sent to SeaWorld Texas. Haida died after 19 years of captivity. In the wild, females can live over 90 years.

    There have been many injuries at SeaWorlds and other aquariums – some very serious. Many are not made public and settled out out of court. In 2004 Tillikum’s son Ky attacked a trainer.

    Lifeforce called for an inquest into the Sea World Florida death. An inquest was conducted with the Sealand death. This was not done but the US government sued over safety issues and won. Lifeforce provided evidence to the government that proved that SeaWorld was fully aware of the first death. In 1991 Lifeforce advised them to stop putting trainers in the pools.

    Watch: Lifeforce’s Tillikum: A Time for Change http://lifeforcefoundation.org/ecotv_play.php?id=54

    For further information: Peter Hamilton lifeforcesociety@hotmail.com

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