Will documentary whack SeaWorld stock?

Blackfish exposes truth behind theme park's orca collecting and storage

Still image from Blackfish
  • Still image from Blackfish

A documentary named Blackfish exposes the dark side of holding killler whales captive to do tricks for SeaWorld audiences, says columnist Al Lewis of MarketWatch.

Lewis notes that the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, but went mainstream when it was shown on CNN October 24. CNN has used parts of it several times since then, and intends to use it more.

Lewis thinks SeaWorld stock will suffer. Actually, it hasn't yet. The stock was $29.76 on October 24 and closed at $30.76 on November 8. SeaWorld went public in early April.

I thought the stock offering stunk like a dead fish, because the proceeds would go to Wall Street firms and not to SeaWorld. Plus, I thought it was overpriced, compared with other theme parks. But the stock shot up from $27 to $34 before backing off to a price I still consider too high.

Comments

SEAWORLD CHAIRMAN DUMPS $1.3 MILLION OF STOCK. According to the Orlando Sentinel, David D'Alessandro, chairman of SeaWorld Entertainment's board, sold almost $1.3 million of stock recently. He sold more than 26,000 shares Nov. 1 at an average price of $29.61, and almost 17,000 more on Nov. 4 at an average price of about $29.41 each. Best, Don Bauder

I must say watching the documentary was both informative and heart breaking.

"When you know better, you do better" - now we know - time to set ALL Backfish Free!!

anniej: SeaWorld complained that the documentary was biased. Best, Don Bauder

biased or truthful, it all depends on who will loose money

Ponzi: You have known that for a long time. The only variable on Wall Street is money. Best, Don Bauder

I saw on the news yesterday that they have built a pool with a bottom that can raise up and drain so whale and trainer can come out but that doesn't prevent accidents. It will be approved or not this week. The whales are not happy.

shirleyberan: The company is trying to orca-strate some good public relations. Best, Don Bauder

I haven't seen it but from what I hear it seems pretty clear than Sea World does not treat mammal employees (whether human or otherwise) humanely.

ImJustABill: That gets to the heart of some complaints. Best, Don Bauder

That a company can profit from holding orcas captive and in-breeding them for public display -- endangering both animals and human "trainers" -- is more remarkable even than seeing pods of orcas swimming free and wild in the waters of Puget Sound. I thought the film "Black Fish" was tame, relative to the disgraceful practices of SeaWorld.

monaghan: SeaWorld doesn't think it got off easy. A spokesman complained of "animal rights propaganda" -- a rather inept way of putting it. Best, Don Bauder

Calling them "killer whales" is a bad stigma and one that drives children to want to visit Sea World and see them. All dolphins kill other fish for food. Shamu is member of the dolphin family, not a whale.

Ponzi: Killer whales, including Shamu, are part of the dolphin family. Best, Don Bauder

Jay Allen Sanford: That's a new one to me. Best, Don Bauder

The time for keeping wild animal circus acts is over. Orca-strate that Don.

shirleyberan: You may well be right, and if you are, SeaWorld stock is REALLY overpriced. Best, Don Bauder

shirleberan: Surely, Shirley, you remember the automobile known as the Renault-Dolphin. Best, Don Bauder

I didn't mean to flag that Don. Renault Dauphine. No I don't remember that really. The first car I can remember was dark gray, everything rounded and big enough to be a station wagon (but I guess they weren't out yet) Seems dad had the same car as everybody else. Can't find the name of it now but dad was from around Detroit. The idea that circus acts are cruel to animals, especially the large wild (like elephants) and these huge whales with no room to really swim as they need to, became clear to me from the Blackfish movie. Shouldn't be allowed. And also sad that they bond with their family units and it's ruined for them. Worse than cruel. It was factual without propaganda. Hope they make more relevant movies.

shirleyberan: The Blackfish movie is really taking off. See entry below. My brother and sister-in-law had a Renault Dauphine in the late 1950s and early 1960s and it was an utter disaster -- a horrible car. Best, Don Bauder

That car was rather pretty, especially compared to its subcompact import rival, the VW Beetle. For a couple years they sold very well, until the flaws became so obvious that they could not be ignored. The Dauphine is just a memory now, and only for those of Don's and my generation. The Beetle survived in Mexico until about a decade ago, and forty-to-fifty year old specimens still drive our streets and highways.

I agree, the car had some classic lines to it. They had great stability, too. My brother and I managed to get one sideways on a steep canyonside in Kearny Mesa once. I chicken-heartedly bailed, but he stayed with it and somehow kept it from rolling.

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Duhbya: It had classic lines, but what good do they do if the car is in the shop for repairs all the time? Best, Don Bauder

Well, if you owned the shop... Your comment reminds me of the claim that GMC stands for "Garage Man's Companion".

Visduh: My wife and I had a VW Beetle. Got in 1962. It was a very good car. As I look back on it, though, we were taking risks, such as in driving it to New York from Chicago. Best, Don Bauder

"BLACKFISH" RELEASED ON DVD TODAY. The anti-SeaWorld documentary "Blackfish," the account of SeaWorld's mistreatment of orcas, is being released today (Nov. 12) on DVD. In late October, a Southwest Airlines customer launched a petition calling on Southwest to end its 25-year partnership with SeaWorld. It now has 10,000 signatures, according to backers of the petition. However, in the last hour of today's trading, SeaWorld stock is up 2.55%. Best, Don Bauder

I had memberships. To Seaworldsandiego because I love the whales , it was somewhere safe I could take my toddler ... But my daughter is 22 on Nov. 22 which means to me that I (Scott sugesteded I should have named her Ruby) know more now, aware, most things are difficult. Our culture is extremely flawed.

shirleyberan: As I get older (now 77), I find that many things get more difficult. Best, Don Bauder

Don - all this makes me too sad. Free is free. Exploitation for Capitalism is wrong. Don - you know right from wrong - enough. The mammals in captivity are the intelligent ones. We will be in discussion.

shirleyberan: Don't blame capitalism for all animal exploitation. Zoos are generally owned by governments. Best, Don Bauder

It's Hollywood's valiant attempt to shoot spitballs at a battleship. "Blackfish" is not the first documentary to expose the dark side of the floating zoo. The superb Academy Award-winning "The Cove" also calls into question SeaWorld's similar practices concerning dolphins. I've been to the aquatic Auschwitz twice in my life. The first year I moved to SD friends brought their family for a vacation and SeaWorld was on their list of tourist traps to visit. At the time the theme park still served free beer as part of their mentoring program for kiddies. I can't stand to see anything in a cage and the giant bunker filled with a hundred or so penguins broke my heart. The second visit was to review a movie. I arrived 10 minutes prior to showtime and fled the second the end credits began to roll. Apart from the glittery fireworks that go off as I drive down the 5 after a screening, the place serves no purpose.

Scott Marks: You may believe SeaWorld serves no purpose. But it serves one purpose very well: raking in money. Best, Don Bauder

If you remember the old zoo you know why I became desensitized to animals in small spaces. Terrible conditions. But they sell it to us by saying its how they study animals. The monkeys they keep in the lab at UCSD is another example of our dispassionate treatment of helpless victims of man. Crazy MF's.

shirleyberan: I think use of animals of all kinds -- rats, monkeys, dogs -- for scientific experiments serves public purposes. I am all for it. Best, Don Bauder

I was too till I understood how much of what they do is unnecessary torture, student's dumb ideas, small cages for a lifetime, chimpanzees with human-like brains suffering, too much wasted life. You can't expect humane treatment of animals when it was OK to experiment on military kids and more a few years back. Don - I have six dogs, forget about it. There are better ways.

shirleyberan: Yes, but I read of animal experiments all the time that seem to add to our knowledge. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: At one time we had two dogs, five cats, and two boys. Best, Don Bauder

If you enter a wild animal's cage you take the risk of death - who's gonna protect the trainer's?

shirleyberan: That is a risk for employees of SeaWorld as well as zoos. Best, Don Bauder

Trainers . Don - would you make trapping black dolphin whales illegal because I would.

shirleyberan: Trouble is, to be effective, a law against such trapping would have to be obeyed worldwide. That's doubtful. Best, Don Bauder

In fact should be illegal to keep them. Law protects sharks better. Then watch Sea World stock, love to see it. A civilized move.

shirleyberan: Such a law would certainly harm SeaWorld. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: I didn't try to bait you. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: Every once in a while a trainer finds out that an allegedly civilized animal is not so civilized after all. Best, Don Bauder

Scott Marks: So true. Best, Don Bauder

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