08 November 2013

Black Fish

The other day I caught the CNN Films documentary Blackfish.

Thanks to science fiction I am inclined to think cetaceans are sentient.

Thanks to science I know that they are extremely smart.

Because of this I have never been comfortable with places like Sea World.

The documentary format is greatly enhanced by sitting there with your laptop and looking things up while they go along.

I knew they had big damn brains before seeing the movie.  What I did not know was how it was structured.  Yeah.  I am going to lay even odds that Killer Whales are sapient.  Too many of the structures in a Killer Whale brain correspond to "this is where we keep our smarts" structures in humans that we shouldn't be treating them like animals until we have proof otherwise.

And that brings us to how they're treating them even if they ARE animals.

Something that whale biologists have known for a long time is the individual pods of killer whales don't use the same calls or even body languages.  If they are shown to be intelligent, what we have is different cultures and languages.

What Sea World is doing is mixing and matching whales from diverse pods and shoving them into ridiculously small spaces with one another.  There's a lot of violence between the whales.  It seems likely that's because they can't get away from one another.

What this documentary did a good job of was making me seek more information; but it also picked at my prejudices.  And that reminded me.

It was produced by CNN and the Motion Picture Association of America gave Michael Moore an oscar for documentary film making.

Verify before trust.

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