Waste & Recycling


Free Willy, for real

In the environmental trade press we have an expression that we normally share with new editors and writers: “None of the three ‘Fs’ please: no fur, fins or feathers.” This is a shorthand way of say, we’re a practical industry magazine that offers technical and engineering solutions to pollution and waste management problems; stick to articles that help people do their job (i.e., reach the plant floor) and stay away from GreenPeace-type stuff about saving animals.”
I generally stay away from the three Fs in my writing and editing for the magazines for which I’m responsible, but once in a while a wildlife preservation story catches my attention that I really have to share, and think my blog space is the best place to do it.
So, please find below a news release I just received about an issue I care about, and that is the captive whale and dolphin display industry, and a new documentary that claims to expose brutality and exploitation. My own opinion is that one day soon we’ll view displays and shows featuring whales and dolphins much the way we currently view Victoria-era bear-bating street shows, as cruel and barbaric.
You can watch the film for free online by following this link:
(There is a trailer for the movie and also a link to watch the film online for free. You can also download the movie or buy a DVD.)
Here’s the news release:
New Film Exposes the Long and Controversial History of Sea World and the Entire Captive Dolphin and Whale Display Industry
SAN FRANCISCO, July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Sea World is responsible for the death of thousands of dolphins and whales, so states former Sea World biologist Dr. John Hall. That is the thread of the first comprehensive documentary film to explore the sordid history of the captive whale and dolphin display industry. A Fall From Freedom, an 82-minute film produced by San Francisco-based EarthViews Productions, includes interviews with scientists, marine mammal biologists, former trainers, activists, and current and past marine park representatives. It is available for viewing free of charge on its website, http://www.afallfromfreedom.com
Narrated by Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H, Providence), A Fall From Freedom digs deep into the history of the captive dolphin and whale industry. Topics covered in the film include:
Sea World representatives secretly promoted the Japanese dolphin drives where thousands of animals are driven to shore and brutally killed, in order to provide their parks with replacement animals, says Dr. John Hall, former Sea World biologist.
There is no educational value to having whales or dolphins in a captive environment, states former Sea World biologist Dr. John Hall and former Sea World killer whale trainer Dr. John Jett.
Contrary to the claims of many marine parks and aquariums, captive killer whales die far more frequently and at a far earlier age than they do in the wild, says Dr. Naomi Rose, biologist for Humane Society International.
Sea World has been involved in illegal and unethical actions to assure their parks are well stocked with killer whales, states former Sea World biologist Dr. John Hall.
The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums has worked tirelessly to reduce government oversight on the health and well-being of captive whales and dolphins, states Dr. Naomi Rose.
Sea World representatives have claimed that whales and dolphins are not highly intelligent, sophisticated, and social animals. Dr. Lori Marino, a leading expert on killer whale intelligence and social dynamics, asserts that their intelligence and social dependence is second only to humans.
Sea World and other marine parks claimed that the rehabilitation and release back to the wild of Keiko, star of the Free Willy movie, was a failure from the start. Dave Phillips of the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation argues that the project was a rousing success, which proved that these animals can be taken from captivity, rehabilitated and returned to the wild.
A Fall From Freedom is a comprehensive history of facilities worldwide that hold whales and dolphins for public entertainment. The film was sponsored by Friends of Animals, Humane Society of the U.S., Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, BlueVoice, the American SPCA, The Summerlee Foundation, the Donald Slavik Family Foundation, and The Campbell Foundation.
EarthViews Productions has been producing environmental documentaries for nearly 40 years, including Where Have All the Dolphins Gone?, a one-hour film on the killing of dolphins during tuna fishing operations, hosted by the late George C. Scott, which was broadcast primetime on Discovery Channel and was partly responsible for all U.S. tuna canners accepting only dolphin-safe tuna. Its other films include The Free Willy Story: Keiko’s Journey Home, a primetime Discovery Channel original program, narrated by Rene Russo, and a primetime TBS Special, A World With Dolphins, hosted by Bridget Fonda.
Stan Minasian
Executive Director/Senior Producer
EarthViews Productions
Fort Mason, Quarters 35N
San Francisco, CA 94123
415 775-4636

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