“Chinese Blackfish” highlighting abuse at China’s aquariums goes viral

24 February 2017

Millions of Chinese have been shocked by a short film revealing the truth behind an industry dying in the west but expanding massively in Asia.

While China’s fledgling animal welfare movement is growing, a booming economy and population means there is still a market for SeaWorld-style entertainment. For many, performing dolphins and orcas are still considered family entertainment.

In 2015 alone 491 cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – are believed to have been poached from the wild for China’s ocean parks. In 2016, the trend continued with a further 40 dolphins, 12 beluga whales and four orca’s being condemned to a life of captivity wholly unsuited to their species.

Many of these freshly captured cetaceans will supply the 44 ocean parks which are now operational or the 19 under construction and due to open in the next two years.

Read more: Blackfish is winning the battle in the west – now there’s a new war in Asia

But a new video is changing this.

The China Cetacean Alliance (CCA), a coalition of international animal protection and conservation organisations, is working on a movie which they hope will have the same effect in China that Blackfish had in the west.

As a gauge of how feasible that goal is – a five-minute version was released early this year and its success has taken everyone by surprise. It has been viewed nearly 18.5 million times in just a few weeks.

Beluga whales in limited space at Dalian Ocean Park,  China 2014

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:

“The success of CCA’s teaser video is hugely promising. It’s hard to imagine anyone watching the film and still thinking aquariums are a suitable place to take their family for a day out. In just a few weeks, this expanding industry has lost literally millions of potential customers, their friends and their entire families.”

The film features renowned marine biologist Dr. Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute visiting three aquariums in mainland China. Shot in December 2016, she explains during each performance exactly how the welfare of the animals is being abused and how the safety of trainers and audience is being put at risk.

The final 8-minute movie is set to be released in the coming weeks via the CCA’s Weibo account.

READ ALSO: Dolphins on a plane, stop this insane cruelty now. SIGN OUR PETITION.