Welcome To The (SeaWorld) Machine

Absolutely brilliant use of music and film to convey one visitor’s understanding of SeaWorld:

Fellow Prisoners: A day at Sea World from Justin Hofman on Vimeo.

Filmmaker’s explanation:

I never set out to make this short film. I hadn’t been to Sea World in probably 20 years but decided to give it a shot and take my niece. I tried to see the place through the eyes of young child but logic and my love for wildlife took over. I’ve spent most of my life committed to exploring wild places and observing wild animals. I understand why these places exist but also feel that it’s time we stepped back and reassessed our need to collect and to display conscious, intelligent animals.

Yes, let’s re-assess.

16 thoughts on “Welcome To The (SeaWorld) Machine”

  1. The state of the world is sad and what is happening in the wild is sadder still. 245 million tons of new plastic was produced last year, 400 dolphins dead off of the coast of Peru, dolphins and other animals sickened and dying by the hundreds in the Gulf of Mexico due to oil spills, the newest species of River Dolphin discovered in the Amazon Basin is already near extinction, the Yangzte River Dolphin is functionally extinct due to human impact, more than 7 billion people on the Planet with no slow down, the oceans are dirtier now than when I started writing this, more than 1000 dolphins (and many other species) are killed everyday, on average, due to ingesting and getting entangled in our garbage. We can make all of the lists that we like but all animals are endangered. We can wistfully talk about how we wish things were or how things should be, while the wild is being wiped out or we can live in the real world and do what we can now. Education is the key but these animals must be protected until humans wake up. Where should these animals go where they can be safe? Until humans stop the madness Zoos and Aquariums are the only options.
    I have dedicated my life to these animals and if you have spent your life, as you say, exploring wild places then you should know the true state of things as they are now. Nice video, but criticism is worthless. Do you have a better idea?

    1. So you would put the last of the species in the care of a place like SeaWorld who has a track record of killing dolphins and orcas? Not on your nelly.

  2. Sea World does not have a track record of killing anything; they have a well documented record of rescue, research and care. However, these animals are disappearing in the wild as the wild is disappearing at an alarming rate. Just because you say what you say does not make it true. I encourage everybody to research this for themselves. There are many facilities around the World that need to do better; Sea World and most North American Facilities do great work and exceed standards that have been set by the USDA and other accrediting associations. And yes, these animals deserve our protection and care. Is your solution to talk about how things should be and let them die in the “wild”? You are sadly misinformed and that is the thinking that is getting little done for the animals of the World.

    1. You can quibble over whether the killer whales captured (and killed) at Penn Cove in 1970 were SeaWorld whales. But there is no question that Don Goldsberry, who supervised the operatin, was SeaWorld’s lead captor. And anyone who cares about killer whales should absolutely advocate for the wild populations as well as the captive populations. In fact, I wish SeaWorld would do more with the resources it has to help protect wild whale populations. It is important to remember that one of the reasons that the Southern resident Killer Whale population in the PNW is small in number and endangered is that SeaWorld removed so many killer whales (especially females) from that population in the 1960s and 1970s.

    2. “We should not quibble about the past at all.” Really? So in my past I have murdered half a dozen people but because I now work in a soup kitchen ministering to the homeless, we won’t quibble about my past?

      SeaWorld is a money-making FOR PROFIT organisation and they pay no tax. They do some conservation work but they could do a lot more. SeaWorld is *the* reason that there are so many marine circuses around the world capturing wild cetaceans and putting them on display.

      Please tell me what SeaWorld is doing for wild populations. Apart from keeping quiet when dolphins and orcas are being “acquired” from places like Russia and Japan. Tell me about the 18 wild-caught belugas that they are trying to bring into the country with Georgia Aquarium. Tell me about their “asset”, Morgan, who is languishing at Loro Parque.

      SeaWorld don’t give a damn about wild populations. They only care about their bottom line.

      1. Really well put “blanket” statement. I can see you are somebody that does not care about what is happening now and what needs to be done now. Humans are the mass murders of not only the wild but also other humans. So by your blanket logic we should not forgive ourselves and therefore we should not move forward (thankfully, for Germany, most of us don’t feel that way) . Sea World is a for profit organization as most businesses are in our capitalist world and as a business they care about the bottom line. Only the money makers make things happen in a world that lives off of money. I do not see anybody else doing state of the art work in state of the art facilities for no profit. You also do no research on your own and listen to one side for your information. Marine “circuses” as you put it were around before Sea World and I guess are still around though I have not heard of one in years. To say the Sea World is the reason is ridicules and is not based on research or facts. Fact: several marine mammal stranding networks are supported by Sea World but your blind hatred of Sea World will not let you concede that fact. The statement that “They could do a lot more” is unappreciative, Sea World does more than most and I am sure more than you.

        I think you are aware of what Sea World does for the wild populations and if you don’t it does not take long to look it up. Ask the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding network what Sea World does or the Stranding networks in Florida or California. Look at what Sea World does directly and how much money, equipment and man hours they donate. Look at the research that is done at Hubbs or by Dr. Randy Wells in Sarasota Bay, Florida. The 18 Belugas were for the Georgia Aquarium, not Sea World and most of the industry disagreed with that move that is why the CZO was let go and the Belugas are still in Russia, where they were captured anyway. Now do your own research and see how many Belugas are killed in Russia every year.

        Morgan, the Killer Whale, is a rescued animal who is deaf. If you understand these animals you will know that a deaf cetacean cannot survive due to the way they use echo location to hunt. If they can’t hear they will starve. Thank God for that rescue and the information we will gain on how to better care for these animals.

        Sea World does care and there are several hundred very caring people who have dedicated their lives to these animals. These people actively work for the betterment of animals, daily. They are the true activist. You are an unappreciative person who would rather talk about how the animals should be free and live in the oceans and not face the reality of what is happening in the wild. There is a greater human impact on the oceans every year. Thousands of animals die daily due to our garbage. Fisheries around the world are collapsing, most recently the sardines off of the coast of California. More garbage and less food for the animals living in the oceans, you are blind to the real world and you criticize without solutions.

        I am the only professional answering on this site and I will no longer waste my time. I have a Tursiops with a bullet in him that needs my time and I will be working on what toxins killed those 400 hundred dolphins off of the coast of Peru. I live in reality and I am doing something today, in part due to the support from Sea World and others.

        Your fancy “handle” does not fool professionals. Wake up and realize that without the big money making facilities many of our battles would be lost through lack of funds and proper research.

        Take care and try to do something productive.

      2. Well Philip Admire, you obviously do a lot for the planet. For that I am grateful. There are so many inaccuracies in your last post that I don’t feel you are in touch with reality. That, or you’re a pawn of SeaWorld.

        YOU take care. Oh and I’m in Australia, fighting for sharks, dugongs and endangered turtles.

  3. We should not quibble about the past at all. Sea World made a lot of mistakes, as do all humans. What is being done now? What needs to be done now? Sea World, as well as others, donates millions of dollars a year to wild populations. Look at the work that Hubbs Research Institute has done. If we stay stuck in the past we will not get anything done in the future.

    1. I agree Hubbs-SeaWorld does great work.Though it is important to note that SeaWorld receives federal grants for its rescue work. And SeaWorld DOES, on occasion, take rescued animals into its collection and uses them in shows; the currently have six short-finned pilot whales in Florida and San Diego that came from strandings.

      I would say that in terms of conservation SeaWorld is not overly generous. Over the past ten years, according to their figures, SeaWorld has donated an average of about $900,000 a year to conservation projects. I did some quick and rough math to determine that they therefore donate about .06% of their revenues to conservation. They obviously could do a lot more.

  4. The amount donated is not the decision of the professionals that dedicate their lives to the animals. Also, do those figures include man-hours, gear, meds, etc? Stranded animals that are deemed unreleasable are put into training by many facilities, this is for the health and well being of the animals. If they are going to stay in human care then they must be mentally and physically stimulated. Husbandry behaviors must be trained to help monitor health and keep as much stress off of the animals as possible during veterinary procedures, high energy behavior for excercise and the learning of these behaviors is good for the animals mentally. However the question is why did these animals strand? When ceteceans strand there is a good reason and a lot of time it is due to the impact of man. Most rescued ceteceans die within 24 hours of rescue, so it seems there was some very good work to save those animals. If only all people and businesses did as much for the wild populations then I dare say we would have a handle on the problems that we face.

    1. I apologize for my mispellings in my last post, I was in a hurry and phones are tough to type on with adult fingers. Take care.

  5. Did Seaworld ever attempted to release Tilikum when they bought him 40 years ago? Or was it purchased for profit? If your answer is that he would be unreleasable, have they ever tried back then and if unreleasble and If SeaWorld is so against captivity then why inbreed more killer whales through artificial insemination adding more deprived (and unreleasable) animals to the captivity list? Isn’t that immoral that a killer whale is born and will die in a same pool after doing decade of tricks, without living a natural life, without doing any hunting, without experiencing the endless oceans? Isn’t that just immoral given our principals in the 21st century? It is obvious SeaWorld’s number 1 mission is $$$.

  6. I think that Philip is or sounds like he is doing a great deal to help wild creatures that are in trouble and for that I thank him!! But I have to say that Sea World is all about Sea World and that is all about the money they make. Profits from the big draw, which is Orcas. This is all about the way they are living in captivity and weather it is right or wrong. I think that answer is pretty obvious; it’s wrong. If I understand Philip correctly, I think he is suggesting that these wild animals that are living in captivity and being forced to perform stunts and tricks everyday for the rest of their lives are better off and in fact luckier than those living in the wild. Because the wild free creatures have a much harder life ; the constant struggle to survive. But I’m pretty sure that if you gave an Orca the choice of would he rather be free living in his deeply bonded family pod facing all the daily struggles to survive and trying to overcome all the odds stacked against them, or would he rather be kidnapped and made to live with strangers forced to perform circus acts for food and live in tanks too small for the entire rest of his life, but he would be safe. What do you think he would choose? One day of freedom is better than ten years of captivity and I’m pretty sure that’s what he would choose. All wild life prefer to be wild not safe. If we want to help them then we have to clean up the mess that we have made so that wild life will be able to live as they were intended. By that I mean take care of our Earth and respect her for the miracle she is. The focus should be on wildlife habitat and preserving and protecting it. Not in preserving and protecting the big business of sea parks. The one positive thing to come from the tragic deaths of two SeaWorld trainers is that we have begun to take notice of what is really going on inside of giants like SW. It’s not very pretty. Making money is fine but not when it involves using captive intelligent animals as nothing more than slaves. Because thats what they are–just because they are not human doesn’t make it right. And that goes for all the rest of the creatures in that place. The poor polar bear, bored and so dejected. It’s wrong and that’s it. We need to make very serious changes to the way we think and start to do the right thing.

  7. And by the way, I got so caught up in the other comments I forgot the reason I was commenting in the first place!! The video. It was so heart breaking at some points. The polar bear just beside himself with no stimulation and seemingly alone was hard to watch. Very good job! It makes the point so well, better than words. And the music was appropriate I thought. I’m sure there will be those that disagree, but this is the message and the sooner we all agree on that the better.

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