Behaviourists for Blackfish


Project 1 - Awareness film

We were surprised to learn that most people who visit marine parks do so out of a love of animals. They love animals, especially whales and dolphins so want to see them, and it’s easy to visit a marine park when on holiday. Furthermore they can see that the trainers also love the animals, and they presume the trainers are marine animal experts so therefore it must be OK. Additionally, although the number of new marine parks is steady in most countries, Japan is building them at an alarming rate. We need to reach the animal lovers in Japan to stop this expansion.

The issue of cetaceans in captivity is tenable - unlike some other animal welfare issues the banning of cetaceans in captivity could happen in our lifetimes. In a few countries it already has been banned. And its really about more than just cetaceans, if we can recognise that it is not OK to keep these animals in captivity, then we can move the discussion to other species.

The money will fund a short film (less than 10 minutes long) aimed at highlighting the issues to the whale-loving public who might attend a marine park. Such people are unlikely to go to see a film like Blackfish but could be reached by a short film. The film will be made by Campaign Film - a professional company run by Andy Davies who shares a passion for this cause. As well as being made available through YouTube etc. it will be offered to the various groups and alliances working on this issue and they will be given the opportunity for their logos to appear at the end. Subject to acceptance it will hopefully be in time for showing at Whalefest in Brighton in March 2014 - attended by thousands of people.

Preliminary discussions with several of the big organisations have been very positive - this is what they have asked for repeatedly when answering the question ‘what can we do to help?’. They want independently produced short films that they can support and use. The film will be produced so that parts can be edited to be changed for a Japanese audience but we need the English version first to secure funding for the Japanese version. The film will be moving, persuasive and professionally produced, a truly strong message.

As people who talk about natural behaviour, the needs of animals and welfare every day of our professional lives let’s work together to do our part for the whales who need us. PLEASE PLEASE be generous in supporting this project.

(And if you are not working as a behaviourist but would like to be involved you are welcome to join!)



Comments from members

“I aim to improve peoples knowledge of how to teach and live with their horses and dogs. I am also a Bowen therapist and am qualified to treat people, horses and dogs. I wanted to join Behaviorists for Blackfish as it is such a good cause, anything that helps raise awareness of issues like this is important.”
Pennie Clayton, Horse and Hound School


Based in London, I work as a cat behaviourist, TTouch Practitioner for companion animals and do one-to-one Life Skills teaching for puppies. I aim to help companion animals express their natural behaviour while attaining or regaining a close and harmonious relationship with their guardians.

I was so excited to hear about the formation  of Behaviourists for Blackfish. I have always been opposed to removing animals from the wild and placing them in captivity for human entertainment, as I was always aware of their immense suffering from boredom, loneliness, frustration and more. And learning about animal behaviour, and attempting to apply the knowledge to companion animals to prevent their boredom, loneliness or frustration - has made me sadder and more ashamed to be part of the species who perpetuate the misery of captive wild animals. I salute Suzanne Rogers and her colleagues for acting now to call on behaviourists to challenge and campaign against this outdated practice.”
Vicky Alhadeff, Happy Dogs and Cats


“This is not my speciality and I am limited as to my input, but very happy to support the cause, especially considering its wider implications.”
David Ryan, dog behaviour consultancy


Articles and thoughts about parallels between other animals and captive cetaceans

1. Lessons from Blackfish: considering the training and management of cetaceans and equines

2. Why it’s not OK to be born in captivity