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October 25th, 2013
01:04 AM ET

Jack Hanna on "Blackfish"

Jack Hanna is the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo. He makes the case for Sea World's care of their orcas. He says the people who work at the parks "love these animals as much as they love their families."


Filed under: Blackfish
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. melindasleight

    Shame, shame Jack Hanna. A lifetime of championing animals, and now this is what you will be remembered for! Pity.

    November 23, 2013 at 1:30 am |
  2. Priscilla R

    The conditions these whales live in is atrocious. Poor Tilly is being used as a sperm bank. It's almost impossible to free these whales into the wild due to their poor health conditions attributed to their captivity. Problems with their teeth and socialization issues would make it almost impossible. I agree with the idea of building larger pens in natural coves in order for them to live their days out. It's amazing to believe that as a child I dreamed of visiting Seaworld and as an adult I can't stand to hear their name. There are various online petitions for the closure of Seaworld and tougher regulations and bigger fines for their mistreatment of marine life. Shame on you Jack Hanna! Of course you would stand up for Seaworld. You worked for zoos that were corporate owned as well. Conservation and education is important but Seaworld is strictly for profit.

    November 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  3. Mary

    Stealing a baby from its mother is never right. Animals don't thrive in captivity, they survive. I get rescuing animals that can't be released back to captivity but to kidnap babies from their mothers is NEVER right. Sea World's response is typical – they exist to make money. I guess Jack Hanna does as well.

    November 6, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Jules

      I agree! I wonder how Mr. Hanna and these 'trainers' would like having their children stolen away from them and forced to live in captivity and preform on demand in the circus?
      I don't care how well these animals are treated they are still prisoners of man, used for entertainment.
      When the day comes that whales, dolphins, etc. herd of a group of human children and force them out to sea, and 'train' them to be entertainers for other sea creatures, man can not begin to understand the cruelty of what they're doing.
      There should never be one of these beautiful creatures born in captivity. It is not nature's intent and we have no right to interfere.
      If people would stop paying to see these creatures forced to live and preform for man's entertainment, this cruelty will continue.
      Mr. Hannah and all those involved should be ashamed. They claim to love these animals but have no problem using them for personal financial gain. Shame on all of you.

      November 13, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  4. Sherry

    My view changed completely after viewing this documentary. I will no longer support this type of entertainment industry. An animal that swims the entire ocean cannot be mentally well in a swimming pool year, after year, after year. It is the equivalent of solitary confinement. Thank you CNN for changing my perspective. Please continue to make this film available for those who may have missed it.

    November 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  5. JK

    A lot of people are saying – let them go free. Remember that a goof number of these animals were born in captivity. That does not make them good candidates for freedom. I followed Keiko's story after he was released & it was sad to hear about his struggles & eventual death.

    November 6, 2013 at 12:49 am |
  6. David Clermont

    It's heartbreaking once you see how clearly intelligent these species are and how obviously wrong we are to tear them away from their families, enslave them and turn them into trained circus monkees. In the beginning we were niave, but now we are aware and there's no going back! Help them back to freedom, Please!

    November 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  7. George

    CNN, bless you for producing and broadcasting "Blackfish." You have launched a discussion that has been overdue for 30 years. Please re-broadcast this wonderful piece again and again. And, please post it on the Internet, so that it can be viewed again and again.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  8. Nancy Davis

    Its not about how it makes the humans feel its about the welfare of the animals. The average Not for Profit animal rights groups can'rt afford to fight the endless pockets of Sea Worlds legal team. The only way to stop this is to stop going and supporting this.

    November 3, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  9. joyce welch

    I enjoyed the documentary Blackfish very much it was very eye opening to what really is going on in these theme parks. I took my nephew years ago to SeaWorld in Orlando he and I were so excited to see the show, at show time an announcement was made that the show was cancelled, because they could not get the whales to come out of their pen to perform. We came back later and they did come out and perform, but it hit me after I watched Blackfish, whales have feelings and emotions too, they get tired and frustrated and do not want to perform all the time which is probably why they strike out at their trainers aggressively. I look forward to living in a world where no animal is forced to do something they clearly do not want to do.

    November 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  10. Susan

    It seems that Jack Hanna stands alone in his defense of Seaworld keeping Orcas in swimming pools. I haven't heard another person who now knows the truth defend this horrific life these captive whales endure. Shame on Jack Hanna, I always thought he was an advocate of wildlife.

    October 31, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  11. Michelle

    I watched Blackfish a few days ago and have not been able to shake this sad feeling. I have never been to SeaWorld to see the whales-I never thought it was right. These beautiful creatures need to be released if possible or placed in an open ocean pen as discussed in the movie. Poor Tilicum and the other whales have suffered enough. I can't believe Jack Hanna could support such a practice of capturing a perfectly healthy animal and putting it on display to do tricks for profit. Shame on SeaWorld. I will never take my family to SeaWorld.

    October 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  12. Tammy

    I am surprised by Jack's interview. I am disappointed in him.

    October 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Sandy

      Tammy, you are so right. I have always thought over the years that he brought awareness to saving animals on our planet. I recorded the Anderson Cooper spot after the CNN of Blackfish and am I was about 15 minutes into watching before Jack opened his mouth. I had to pause and pull out the iPad to see what other folks were feeling about Hannah. So disappointed in him. Do they really think that they can get away with this cruelty for greed and money? He's definitely had his pockets filled to support this profit making business. It has nothing to do with research... Just the almighty buck! Back to the show now.

      November 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  13. C Sutherland

    I wonder the level of love when these oceanariums have gone through owner after owner after owner after owner . . . . If you really love something or someone, I would think you couldn't leave them - unless, enough money wasn't made. If it is a business, there must not be much profit in it, because the ownership changes hands so frequently with these kinds of businesses. And many of these oceanarium owners are not even centered in marine biology: film studios, beer makers, and publishing companies – so, if they are not in the actual industry of marine biology, what love for these animals could they have for these whales? And if there is not that much profit in owning an oceanarium, then the reason for having these animals cannot be money, but the profit comes in selling them? "I own a whale" is good bragging rights that many a self-centered person would pay to say. All ego? Good puzzle.

    October 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  14. Tom

    I saw this. I am not sure who has it worse – the Orca or the Trainers who have been brainwashed and put there lives at risk. The parks should be closed and the animals released.

    So sad. This is all about money.

    October 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  15. Abel

    I think the issue here is a lack of intelligence on the part of one species and it’s not the whales that I speak of. These mammals are not mindless creatures; they are in fact intelligent species with social skills and norms within their own natural environment. I have been to SeaWorld before and have even taken my children there out of ignorance. I do think that the SeaWorld Corporation uses the pretense of "education" to conceal the real reason they have these animals in captivity. It is similar to the Circus and traveling side shows whose real reason is to generate revenue. SeaWorld is an entertainment platform for the human species. There is no real reason that we cannot learn about animals in the wild from an outside perspective while allowing the animals to remain in their natural environment. This has been proven on so many other occasions with other animals. Lets be real here, SeaWorld is making 2 billion dollars a year off of the trafficking, imprisonment and exploitation of these animals. This will not change unless we as species demand otherwise.

    October 30, 2013 at 5:50 am |
  16. Trent

    This was such a stunning revealing of the truth behind Seaworld and all of those places like them. I went there as a kid believing that the killer whales were happy in their tanks and that they loved to perform those shows. It turns out that I couldn't have been more wrong. When I have kids, I am never taking them there and paying to see animals that are tortured and depressed where they are. I don't want to take the chance of my kids seeing an animal that they think is happy going on a rampage and killing someone. I say they need to be freed, because we can't make enclosures big enough or realistic enough. Plus, the taking of a baby from its mother wrecks the baby for life, because in the wild, they never leave their mother, and stay with them they entire life. Free the killer whales!

    October 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
  17. Beth

    CNN, will you PLEASE consider rebroadcasting 'Blackfish?" More people need to watch it and hear about Tilikum's sad story.

    October 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  18. Michael J. Cornish.

    Jack missed the point. This is not about how much you love and care for your charges but about going against the basic biology of these giant mammals.

    October 29, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • Joy Snow

      Agree with person who stated this is not about how much the trainers love these orcas. It ONLY matters that they are kept in an unnatural environment which equals cruelty. They are not Iike zoos they are entertainment venues like circuses. It's hortible and I have no idea why they could not be kept in OCEAN PENS at the very least. Every part of their existence is unnatural to their species. I'm ashamed to be part of a society that finds this at all acceptable.

      November 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  19. Tim

    Jack, I don't think anyone contends the compassion and commitment of the people who work at the parks. The issue lies with the owners of these parks and their honesty around the cause and details of the aggressive incidents. Their story is certainly suspect after watching this documentary. You seem to be reluctant to face the true concern around Orcas in captivity and resulting behavior. I doubt that families will flock to Sea World after watching this documentary. The mighty dollar sends the best message!

    October 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  20. tressa

    I saw the documentary on Blackfish the other night, and I am convinced that Killer Whales are not able to function normally in a tank for the rest of their lives without some disorders occurring psychologically and physically...I don't see that that they are mistreated...I have been to Sea World, and found the trainers very dedicated and the show just wonderful, but I am not privy to what happens when the show is over...I believe if these Killer Whales attack, it is because they are frustrated or the trainer has made a move that startled them and they attack..There has to be a way for these beautiful animals to live a life without frustration...I don't have the answer, but there must be one..

    October 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  21. Jacqueline Kovacs

    A whale is a mammal not a fish, it lives its life in the company of its elders, siblings, and offspring. In the wild it can live 100 years. In captivity it is separated from its family, from emotional support of its pod and its lifestyle is compromised substantially. To Jack Hanna I would say, this is not about how much the trainers love these animals (79 killed or injured working with these animals is inhumane for humans ~ by the way)... it is about the animals right to freedom. It is time to free all killer whales in captivity. The argument that a zoo is a good environment for animals is equally wrong. These animals are in PRISON. Wild creatures need to be in the WILD.

    October 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  22. Osama

    how can anyone justify keeping these giant mammals in swimming pools. They are meant to swim from one ocean to another, not be trapped in a "cell", they need to be let free!

    October 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  23. Josh

    Obviously jack Hanna has a bias towards sea world and swallows his breaths as he speaks this rubbish. I will never go to a sea world park again in my life and will pass along the info I have learned from the blackfish documentary! Thank you to the maker of the documentary for opening my eyes to the horrible acts of sea world.

    October 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  24. lilly

    Of course the trainers and people at the park love and care for the orcas and all the animals at Sea World, wouldn't you care for the animal that's your meal ticket.

    October 27, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • Vira Chudasma

      I watched the film on Oct 24th and from that day it changed my opinion about Seaworld, I m not saying that these people at seaworld are"horrible" but it is not humane to keep these orca locked up in a Tank and make themperform for human entertainment.. Simply put, they belong with their family in the ocean not in a cement tank at Seaworld What is such a big deal about still keeping them captive even after a death of one of their trainer... Build a facility into the ocean and slowly train them to survive into the ocean and release them.

      October 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Trent

        I agree, they really do need to try and slowly release them to the wild so they can live better lives

        October 29, 2013 at 8:43 pm |

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