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Blackfish backlash picking up steam: Trainers defend SeaWorld, point out errors

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The movie "Blackfish" had stirred big emotions, but now that it's been out for a while and has been showed ad nauseam on CNN before going onto Netflix, some glaring inaccuracies are coming to light.

In the video accompanying this article, you'll hear from former SeaWorld Orlando trainer Kyle Kittleson, who worked with the orcas much more recently than any of the trainers featured in the film. He points out that perhaps 15 percent of "Blackfish" is accurate and pinpoints many of the misrepresentations.

Kittleson isn't the only knowledgeable person coming out against "Blackfish" and blasting it for playing fast and loose with the truth. The website Mice Chat interviewing two of the trainers featured in the movies, who now say that what they said have been totally misrepresented. You can read their interview with Bridgette Pirtle here. In a rather telling moment in the interview, Pirtle reveals how "Blackfish" director Gabriela Cowperthwaite asked her not to speak out about the film until after the Academy Awards.

Even more interesting is the fact that Mark Simmons was Tilli's trainer for many years, yet much of what he actually tried to say in the movie was distorted or downplayed. You can find his story here.

Of course, if you've ever been to SeaWorld Orlando, you probably already know that "Blackfish" is full of distortions and half-truths. You can see Tilli out with his grandson, Trua, not alone and isolated. You might see a day when the orcas simply don't want to perform, and the show is called off because they're never forced to do anything they don't wish to do. That also shows they're very obviously not starved to make them do tricks; instead, it's like giving yummy treats to a well-fed dog during training.

The park also has many backstage tours if you want a real look behind the scenes to judge its animal care for yourself. You can see the penguins, dolphins, sea lions, beluga whales, and other creatures, depending on which tour you choose.

There's also a tour of the rescue and rehabilitation facilities, which you can see on a video in this article. "Blackfish" conveniently glossed over the more than 20,000 animals of various species that have been saved by SeaWorld over the years. If you'd like to see four pilot whales who were rescued in a stirring success story, go to this article.

Need advice or guidance from a Central Florida theme parks expert? Check out my ebooks for Kindle and Nook.


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