Blackfish Part I – By Jennifer Laurent

“After all we have learned about how interconnected we are, it shocks me that some of us still think that we as human beings are any better or of higher importance than any other being in this universe.”

These are the words I wrote after watching the movie Blackfish and crying from the depths of my soul. For those of you who have not yet viewed the movie, I encourage you to please do so. In short, Blackfish is about the killer whales that are held in captivity by Sea World. It is a movie that everyone should watch, information that everyone needs to have. I watched and I cried, feeling deep empathy for these magnificent animals that are powerless to the barbaric customs we as human beings have come to accept and celebrate.

Throughout history, we have come to believe as a whole that human beings are superior to all other life. We consider ourselves smarter, more highly evolved, and more powerful. We prey on other life forms, using them for our own selfish reasons and acting in inhumane ways, all in the name of enhancing our own human experience. We torture animals for testing human products, do unspeakable things to the animals intended for our consumption, and then hold them hostage in captivity for our own entertainment.

Most of us don’t even stop to think about the soul on the other side, the unspeakable pain they are suffering through. We apply products, we eat, and we laugh, not caring to know the story of the animal, not wanting to hear the truth of what they have gone through for us. We shut our eyes and we close our hearts not wanting to deal with the emotions that might arise if we allowed ourselves to think and to feel.

It hurts to open your eyes and your heart. It feels awful to realize that you have been a part of causing another being pain. One of the reasons I cried so deeply as I watched was because of my own support of whale captivity through my many visits to Sea World. Applauding these whales who swim over one hundred miles/day in the wild as they did their tricks from the bathtubs they are imprisoned in. To know that I was not conscious to the pain and grief of baby whales being stolen from their mothers, their families. As I listened to the sound of mother whales screaming out, grieving the kidnapping of their babies, I thought of my own son and the primal feelings of pain I would feel if he were taken from me.

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So why is it any different in our minds? Why is it ok to kidnap a child from any animal when we know how that feels? We have come so far in our knowledge and understanding of the universe. We are now aware that we are all connected, that we are all one. We now know that we as human beings are no better or worse than any other being. We are not the most evolved species either. There are animals like dolphins and whales whose abilities to communicate and connect with one another far surpass ours.

We now know better and it is now our moral responsibility to do different and to be different. We cannot change what we have done in the past, but we can begin acting with compassion and love from this day forward. Yes, it hurts to open your eyes and your heart, but that pain once realized can be turned into love as we fight for justice with compassion and knowing in our hearts. As we become the voices for those who have no voice, for those who cannot speak for themselves.

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This is our time to wake up, our chance to be the change!