"Voiceless" – A Blue Freedom Film – Official Documentary 2016



welcome back visitors heading into SeaWorld were greeted by loud protesters today now at the Miami Seaquarium another controversy is brewing over a whale named Lolita animal advocates have been fighting for lolita's release for decades in the months since CNN first aired the documentary blackfish exposing alleged mistreatment of killer whales at SeaWorld the company has faced unrelenting criticism when I was 14 years old I saw a documentary called The Cove and it really opened my eyes to what's really going on behind the scenes in captivity and it inspired me to get involved and raise awareness amongst my generation because I realized that we're the ones holding the key in our hands were the ones supporting this industry and we're the ones who can end it I started a blog I started writing about the issue I got together with some friends and we started a non-profit and we decided to make a film because we realized that film affects people in ways that written word can't and we wanted to bring it into the classroom we wanted students to see what's going on behind the scenes and marine parks and how they can make a difference and that this is an issue that they can help solve this is a problem that has a solution they can help end it and we can give a voice to the voiceless soon after I started blue freedom with some friends of mine we realized like how can we most comprehensively put all of this information together and so I basically just started filming interviews and I started talking to people and I'm like we'll just I had no idea what I was doing so I'm like we'll just you know figure it out as we go kind of thing so I wrote a letter to Ric O'Barry he's definitely in Ric O'Barry is one of my heroes for sure he's legendary his time at Miami Seaquarium I mean he trained all the Dolphins for the flipper TV series he was the one who translated language into dolphin all the hand signals and stuff that you see trainers using now Ric was really instrumental in figuring out how to take his script and get dolphins to do things which is ironic because now he spent the past 40 years of his life freeing dolphins and then finally with this film the opportunity came up for me to actually be able to meet up with him in Miami and interview him okay so how did you describe what goes on inside you for someone like a student who has no idea one minute is the most beautiful tranquil body of water just breathtakingly beautiful a few hours later it can become that same little body of water can become the most violent it's like Dan thieves Inferno for dolphins there's nothing bloody just god-awful lorem Alamo West was a student when she was over at the cove she took a ton of video she was really one of the first young people students to go over there and really see and document what was happening well there's somebody back there riding in the back of truck there's like three guys with them like I said when we first went over there I didn't really know what to expect I think any of us did we had a rough idea from the movie The Cove and your job there is to be a voice for the voiceless and it was get up really early in the morning and we would wait and be with monitoring the horizon and if the boats starting to come in then we would see if they were driving applause because the violence starts many many miles offshore in international waters when the dolphins are first confronted they find a pod and what they do is they create an underwater wall of sound the Dolphins are sound oriented that's their primary sense like what sight is to us sound is to them they live in a world of sound and so it's so easy to just push them right in short with this underwater wall all these folks are creating this terrorizes these sound oriented creatures they've never heard anything like this before and a lot of the Dolphins die in the process of the drive long before they get to the COPE fetuses are aborted but the older left behind heart attacks capture shock mother's a baby separated once they had driven them into the cove all of them were kind of huddled together in a big pile before they got a chance to separate them into the different groups and they separate them into males females and juveniles and what happens from that point is trainers from the local dolphinariums come and they go fear all of the different groups and they look for dolphins that are pretty easy that looks like flipper and they don't have scratches on them or missing parts of their fin and they put them in pens in the harbor which is around the corner from the actual killing Cove probably out of every pod maybe you have at best maybe a dozen dolphins that are pretty enough to go to dolphin shows so there Cho they're selected out there sold to marine parks and then the slaughter begins they slaughter further meat so it's a very violent very violent procedure no question of that they use a method called plaything which is when they take a metal rod and a mallet and they the hammer it talent to the normal spinal cord which is the madhouse and things that they do community trainers physically drown them because they are splashing so much she's getting in their way when you're watching that kind of death and destruction on such a mass scale every single day it really takes a toll on you and then everyone cleans up and they go when they want you to meet and they sell in local markets and everyone goes about their day yeah it's uh it's horrific those captures essentially when you go to a dolphin show or swim with dolphin program of any kind you're supporting the Taiji dolphin slaughter either directly or indirectly not all dolphins captured our from Taiji but even if you go to an aquarium or a swim with program that has captive dolphins you're saying this is okay you know I'm okay with the fact that dolphins are in captivity and that's going to keep the slaughter and haiji going it's going to keep the slaughter in various other places going and it's going to keep drives in other parts of the world going the capture of dolphins in Taiji they only get about $500 for a dead dolphin for the meat but for a live dolphin they can get as much as a hundred and fifty four thousand dollars and probably more one thing that people can't bring up sometimes is the fact that no lives capture dolphins can be brought into the United States but we kept singing dolphins being loaded onto trucks and then this charts would just leave and we figured they were going to the airports or little scenarios because we knew that they had orders to build from all over the world so we fall in love one day and it was about a 12-hour day it was exhausting and we managed to not be seen the whole time wait think what happens is these animals are shipped out from Taiji to different places in the world then through their time there or somewhere along the way the paperwork gets changed and all of a sudden that's a captive born dolphin or rental and when they're brought into United States the only time I went to SeaWorld was with my father my father and I went to film for the documentary actually just some b-roll it was just heartbreaking like I remember watching the Shamu show and seeing everyone just kind of like screaming and wanting him to like splash them it remind me of what it must have been like to be in like a Roman Coliseum watching someone get like eaten by a lion it's like how is this entertaining to watch an animal suffering I remember just sitting there crying and my dad's like you can't have a breakdown in hell he's like someone's gonna think you know there's something wrong the first interviews that I actually sat down and did myself were with the former SeaWorld trainers John jet Carol Rae Samantha Byrd Jeffrey Ventre they gave me so much information they were so helpful when I started at SeaWorld I wasn't thinking that captivity wasn't was there was anything wrong with it I thought you know they were gonna be like a bastion of research as it turned out to be a sea service my family would contact me like what are you working at zero Corley he hates OU's like you can't even go to a zoo without crying and I never equated that you said in this interview here about the first 10 minutes of your first day at SeaWorld of painful revelations yeah well it's kind of a mixed observation mixed emotion type of a deal for me I mean you know of course you know I was really excited to be there when you first get hired as year old you're kind of got a honeymoon period you're happy to get the job but then you know became immediately aware that its tanks are really small it was really dramatic it just hit me over the head and pools a really small relative to their enormous size this tiny pool with we must have 20 Dalton's in there swimming around and competing for the little fish you know the wild it's been reported that they swim upwards of 100 miles a day and then they can dive down three or four five six hundred feet and one of the things you can't help but notice as you watch them swimming in the wild is that they are swimming in straight lines and they had these huge straight dorsal fins and they just are where they're supposed to be you asked me earlier about what started to create a pair of a red light my brain it was some of the stuff that we were asked to tell the end show kids that would come in and then they all had to do with the lifespan the superior dental care and collapse dorsal fins and we're out there spewing out this basically corporate PR talking points we know that about upwards of about 75% of females live to the postmenopausal page of about 40 in captivity is dramatically different they just die in much younger age like so many details I think I didn't really think much about you know what do they do with a 10,000 pound whale when it dies and and quite honestly to this day right now if one dies I'm not quite sure what happens to them I'm sure that you know they end up being probably land filled but when I was there there were whales that died and I never saw the disposal process I had heard that and at least one case that an animal was cut up into basically small pieces and and put into trash bags to be hauled away to presumably to landfill in another case one was buried on kind of a back law area and as I recall there were some heavy rain events where the groundwater level came up and pushed this rotting carcass up through the ground in which it was buried and eventually had to be scooped out with tractors and hauled to landfill the veterinary care to me seems to be sort of frontier medicine a fish that we're giving to the animals we frequently did have to stuff them with medications in the morning occasionally more than occasionally you get reactions these steel gates are used to separate the animals they will charge these gates they wind up chomping down on the steel Florida knocks the enamel off their teeth we're telling the public that we're providing them with superior dental care but we're leaving pounds apart about how they grow thirteen well yeah there's all these you know sort of varying degrees of traumatic events occurring all the time often times they're with animals that they don't share any kind of relation with a hodgepodge of animals from different parts from different parts of the world they're creating their own little subspecies of you know who knows what kind of hybrid animals there's a lot of well on well digression there was a small female named Winnie when I worked at SeaWorld that was really sweet and and when he was beat up I mean it was relentless just you know harassed betta bitten raped chased around and poor Winnie was you know she essentially spent her life cowering corner and and for me it very difficult to watch and and one particularly brutal episode when he was beaten up and raped so badly that there was so much blood in the water that the 6 or 7 million gallons of water or whatever the case is what was so dark that the Shamu show had to be canceled so it's hard to understand the volume of blood that is required to make 6 or 7 million gallons of cool water dark so what I'm talking about a couple of cups of blood you're talking about you know lot of blood loss and and so you know I watch that and I was there and we kept trying to separate the animals because they were really beaten many up and we couldn't separate the animals and was trapped it was heartbreaking and I remember leaving that day and you know basically crying because you know many was beat up so badly and that the poor thing had no place to grow you know in the wild when that happens animals can just kind of get out of the way and they can take off in the captive environment death that kind of escape option this doesn't exist but we were recognizing going on at SeaWorld is just what happens to humans when they're in a stressful environment and they can't adapt to it chronic stress leads to all kinds of acute and chronic illnesses and pathology but at Shambo saying specifically I always was disturbed by the way different was treated first night when I was first working and spent a lot of time with oftentimes put into the pool with transient organ and can do if you died in 1998 Sam Lewis virus and stuff lives but he would basically serially rape her in the back pool and in this is a situation where she had nowhere to go I always thought that was pretty sad when she first was brought into SeaWorld Florida I can hear her crying out like I mean just like and it was such a blood-curdling kind of vocalization in it train went part wide here you could feel it so that was something that always always touched me and it made it hard for me to go to work so clearly the things that you're seeing them do in the in those shows and and the even in the pools between shows are not extensions of their natural behavior there's nothing natural about an adult work of vlogging on the surface of the water for hours at a time there's you know they're really bored just in place to swim getting feasted upon by thousands of mosquitoes under the blazing the Florida Sun and getting sunburned they don't exercise they get less water because they're eating dead fish and they their caloric intake is less yeah food deprivation is is to animals that are hungry are more likely to perform so a really common set up would be for the the owner of the park to be coming in and when he came into the park he would inevitably want to see a Shamu show and so three or four or five days out from that visit you'd start cutting an animal over several animals basic food maybe in half maybe by a third so by the time the President or the owner arrived on Saturday the animals were sufficiently food motivated and they were hungry and they were more likely to to cooperate with kind of what you were asking them to do if you're a person with your eyes open and your objective observer becomes pretty immediately it seemed like there was there's more that we needed to do so that was my reasons for leaving and so at 4:30 in the morning I went down to a TV studio and Anchorage and went live on Fox & Friends that's correct it's actually a historic there's about six people right now that are willing to speak out against a world and that's unprecedented I remember leaving the studio and walking out of here being terrified I was looking for the SeaWorld Band to pull up I just thought the black and white zebra band was gonna pull up they're gonna drive me and they're never gonna see anybody I was really frightened I think all of us have had that fear when we when we've spoken out for the first time just really stepped out in public you have to get SeaWorld credit for you know manufacturing this fantasy they've been selling it for 40 years and their jeans how did twisting this whole captivity thing and making us think that the whales loved us and the whales want to be there you know doing these silly tricks and and the public is bought I think the thing about watching your show that the public gets caught up in is that they really do think that the whale is hugging you or they really do think the animal say yes I want that bucket instead of that fish if they are all trained behaviors and they're simply responding to a cue and so the relationship that we have with the animals is much less a friendship relationship where it's more like like you'd have a relationship you have with a prison guard and a prisoner and and that's one of the reasons I Trading dolphins when I walked away I was probably the highest-paid animal trainer in the world but I got tired of being a professional liar captive dolphins are very different than dolphins in their natural environment they become performing circus clowns does not represent dolphins in the real ecosystem in nature and a more than Mickey Mouse represents a real Mouse especially those that are born in captivity so here you have a dolphin that was born in this building the tank this dolphin has never experienced the natural rhythms of the sea or the tide or the current or the sunshine this dolphin actually thinks that the ceiling is the sky children see that dolphin show and they walk out of there thinking this is where they bought these are disposable dolphins for our disposable Society hi I'm Dave restitch and I'm a surfer and co-founder of the group of surfers for cetaceans and how we cook good friend of mine and I started this group in 2004 when it comes to cetaceans in captivity I guess you know if you are naeli and coming to earth and you want to learn about humans you wouldn't go to a prison cell and study someone in solitary confinement well that's what is going on when you go to theme parks or hotels or pools where any of these animals are kept you know it's not a real situation it's even more obvious to those of us who spend time with these creatures in the ocean so being a surfer you've pretty much been guaranteed you'll have a dolphin encounter sooner or later and if you're lucky whale and canvas as well but where I grew up in Australia I've had the blessing to watch dolphins all my life and they're easily the best surfers in the world probably we all who have representing the confines of a Marine Park then go see them out in the wild and just have this feeling of sadness for the animals that are left in a Marine Park to see what they should be and could be experiencing it's really it's really a it's an emotional event for me every time I see it there's a different feel watching a pot of wild killer whales and just watching them move through the water first watching captive killer whales there they're just not they're not the same thing you're watching I call them facsimile a whales it's two completely different my name is Naomi rose I was inspired when I was a teenager very young acts I was 13 years old to become a marine biologist it wasn't until I was 19 but I saw these animals in the wild swimming out in the open ocean and it was in fact an incredibly visceral emotional experience for me you if you ever see a dolphin riding the bow of the boat you're in that trumps any dolphin show by orders of magnitude you will be thrilled the emotional response you will feel just naturally by witnessing that you will not be able ever to duplicate that captivity one of the great joys of doing whale research or just watching them from shore or from the boat just just to see them in their normal daily behavior out there that is so fascinating well I got involved in whales in 1980 when I got invited to join in on the research as a research assistant everybody is believed and taught in in biology classes that you know animals have no emotions no feelings and and you can't really you know relate to them and yet I will seeing no they have these bonds of trust and glove that hold their families together but they're all in constant contact they're sensing each other you know by their calls by their echolocation locating each other their Clippers are as close as touching if they had hands they'd be holding hands while they are doing this they're acting in unison in harmony with each other all the time in captivity that's taken away from them almost invariably a facility will hold captive whales and dolphins certainly whales in a tank think of this from the whale or the Dolphins point of view and think about how it would be to be living with your family and then to be taken away from them without any consent on your part put into a small space when you had all the world to travel and live in and and force to do the same thing day after day after day when I was there I was fortunate enough to work with baby Shamu the first baby Shamu her name is Kalina when management came down inside we're gonna be moving her to another park and then the night of the move she lifted out of the mud hole in a stretcher putting a big container onto a truck and she's gone and it has just stayed with me in a way I can't even probably express very well how heart-wrenching it was to watch her her mother left in the pool Catina after her baby had been removed we've taken this family that has know nothing but being together and we're taking this young offspring away from its mother and she she just was screeching and crying in a way that I never seen her I've never seen her they were vocalizations I had never seen her do before she was not really a vocal whale in general Gudrun was super vocal Katina was on it but just hunched over stayed in the corner of that pool for hours on end screeching and crying was horrifying uh you know despite the efforts of a whole lot of us to try to inform people that really they're not happy at all in captivity that they die young SeaWorld has been trying to tell people for four decades that everything's fine they're happy there but it really wasn't until the death of the trainer in February of 2010 at orlando seaworld that the word started to get out and then Along Came blackfish it's one of America's favorite attractions every day thousands of people flock to SeaWorld to see their favorite marine life animals at play but this morning a new documentary exposing the darker side of the theme park is making waves of its own I mean that film you know a debuted in January 2013 at Sundance Film Festival and for six months it made the rounds of film festivals and it got incredible buzz it changes people when they come out of the theater they're disgusted with themselves that they ever believed that and more so at the industry at SeaWorld in particular for for lying to them all these years and for doing this horrible horrible thing to the whales and making it look like and selling it as something that is good for everybody and the whales are happy there but in North America and Europe it's over I mean I just people are not gonna go back so there's gonna have to be a new kind of marine park we don't mind them staying in business as long as they don't hurt whales and dolphins so they've got to let their whales and dolphins ago and not depend on having any live animals or certain maybe you like whales and dolphins in in their parks I mean let the you know the special effects Wizards of Hollywood loose on marine parks and we'll see some amazing results so I thought about these things for the last 50 years and I've come to the conclusion that the solution to the problem is to identify those that can't be released back in the wild and not all of them and release them not all whales or cetaceans in general for that matter are fit for release back into the wild they are all definitely able to go to to be transported to a sea pen where they can experience the natural rhythms of the ocean that's a drastically better life than living in a small pool full of chemicals and like blazing hot Florida so every single cetacean absolutely is fit for being released to a coastal sea pen for a long time it's been very mainstream to go to a whale or dolphin show and get your sort of marine conservation education that way that sort into the future young people are gonna look back at this period of time go wow that's when it all kind of changed and Anna that's when this whole social movement started and that's when this level of social consciousness began and so the writing's on the wall the young people that are out here really just kind of get it I can trinsic they get it and I think that's what's gonna shift the whole paradigm to the change that we're all looking for it's entirely up to us our generation is holding the keys and in this practice in this instance we are heroes we've been waiting for by helping the end cetacean captivity you are changing the worry I'm not kidding you are changing the worry and I think a piece of advice I'd give to students is to try and raise awareness about these issues online whether it's starting a blog signing a petition whether it's just telling your friends and family on Facebook or something about any of these little things can really help the spread of information is really the cornerstone of this movement it's the driving force behind it and this generation is in a particular position to harness that power to make our voices heard more than ever before so it could be anyone anywhere like fifteen-year-old kid the peace talk just draw them away like that running I love whales in Bangkok or whatever but the point is that we can all do something with whatever our passion is and be a voice for the voiceless and counting on us it's so much in the hands of students to stop this particular industry because we're the ones going to marine parks we're the ones going to swim with dolphin programs it's mostly kids so if kids decide hey we're not supporting this because it's uncool because these animals are suffering they're stressed out and it's not right to keep an animal in less than 1% of its habitat then the industry's done it's something young people just stop buying tickets times buy the ticket just don't go it's really that's done buying the tickets just don't buy ticket you can make a difference don't buy the ticket if you can get your entire school to valve not survive to get to marine park then you've done more than a lot of adults a small group of people or an individual can make a difference you can make a difference absolutely you can make a big difference because I think in my generation there's a lot of complacency not because of like a lazy attitude of like I don't want to do anything it's that kids really believe that they can't do anything and it's like this very common belief and so I always try to debunk that with my own story I'm like well I was just a kid with a laptop so you know and I I was able to do something to help make a difference so it's like you can take whatever your talent is and turn it into something to raise awareness for an issue that's important to you no matter what it is for the generation we have the ability to stop this industry it's time to end this royalty don't buy the ticket crimson I was born yet again in a state code five you've got to and for the taking your blood is worth all the way to watch me in I can't die without your permission so just say the word whoa chill permission so joy sale won't you Oh echoes in part to the by jingo now I know how it flows in the money in class

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