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'Blackfish' Director Responds To SeaWorld's Decision To End Orca Breeding

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 17/03/2016 Julia Brucculieri
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Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of the eye-opening documentary "Blackfish," has responded to SeaWorld's decision to end its orca breeding program.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Cowperthwaite said, "Of course we want more because change should always be dynamic. But breeding, expanding killer whales into international markets, all these missives once sat at the center of their business model. And they're willing to stop these practices immediately."

She added, "This is paradigm shifting."

The Huffington Post has reached out to a representative for Cowperthwaite and will update this post accordingly. 

Cowperthwaite's documentary explored the story of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by an Orca at SeaWorld named Tilikum in 2010. The film was released in 2013 and helped bring awareness to the devastating realities of what can happen when orcas are kept in captivity. 

The director, writer and producer has long been vocal about the theme park's treatment of orcas. Last year, after SeaWorld announced it would end its theatrical orca shows in San Diego, she restated her view that they needed to do more. 

"Until they stop the breeding and retire their whales into sea sanctuaries we just can't let up," she told THR in a statement. "Nothing else they're doing truly changes anything for the animals."

Other members of Hollywood, such as "Hunger Games" star Sam Clafin and Jason Biggs also reacted positively to the news, sharing their thoughts on the matter on Twitter. 

Joel Manby, CEO of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment addressed the park's decision in an op-ed piece on the Los Angeles Times' website

We are proud of contributing to the evolving understanding of one of the world's largest marine mammals. Now we need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create -- which is why SeaWorld is announcing several historic changes. This year we will end all orca breeding programs -- and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care. We are also phasing out our theatrical orca whale shows.


By offering our guests enjoyable, memorable and educational experiences, SeaWorld will continue to create the constituency for conservation, just as we helped to inspire the changing attitudes that, in turn, inspired our company's changing policies.

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