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About Brog's Blog

The random goings-on of a twenty year old aspiring journalist, basically ranting and reviewing

New Year, Same Stuff

Recently, my blog has been quieter than Alfonso Ribiero, Carlton from Fresh Prince, seriously what happened to him. So one of my New Year’s resolutions was to post more stories. So, 19 days later, I am trying to do this. I would tell you about my New Year but, to be honest, the only portion of the night I remember involves pouring drinks and selfie sticks capturing my fall from grace hour by hour.

New years

Here is us doing the macarena, or auditioning for the Village People. Either or.

Lately, all I have noticed is how demeaning social media can be. It seems that the only time people log onto Facebook or Twitter or even Bebo, if you still live in 2007, is to criticise people for everything they do. I also respect the irony of me blogging critically about people criticising but c’est la vie or whatever the Spanish say.

One of the first things that will be seen when logging into social media in January 2015 is ‘gym bunnies’ having a go at the ‘newbies’ at the gym. Complaining that some ‘fat wallopers’ are using all the treadmills. Well, to be honest the only way they can become ‘thin wallopers’ is that treadmill. Everyone had to start off somewhere so why judge people that have taken the first step in becoming fit. Come back in 20 minutes and I’m sure the treadmill will be free while someone sweats profusely and has a panic attack in the corner.

Also, there has been a lot of digs at ‘New year, new me.’ New Year, New Me usually involves a plan in which this person becomes Cara Delevigne and starts the transformation with a trip to the hairdressers to get £20 worth of highlights. I get that it is annoying but sometimes the New Year is what people hold on to make themselves a better them. Why bring them down, brassy highlights and all.

I, like everyone else, had New Year resolutions, the old favourites that I repeat every year like one of them horrendous Christmas CDs, who buys these CDs!! It’s the same songs every year. Anyway, I promised I would get fit and lose weight and be more social at 12 am on the 1st of January. 12 hours later I can found with my head in a toilet bowl and wondering if I will ever feel normal again. This ritual happens every year.

I spent New Year demolishing vodka and wine, testing the capacity of my liver and failing, then like all young 20 year-old’s being put to bed at 02:30 after falling up the stairs, not being able to see straight and being astounded by the depth of my love for these people who were in an equal state, I like to keep the New Year classy.

Another one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more involved in current affairs, top notch journalist right here, I know a little about politics but not that much. My understanding is limited to David Cameron – dick, Nick Clegg – dick, Ed Milliband – a sad Wallace without the Gromit and Nigel Farage – massive dick. One of the main reasons I want to know more about politics is so that when I’m at a party and someone brings up a deficit, cause we’re cool like that, I sound educated in between rounds of never have I ever.

I know I probably won’t stick to all of my New Year’s resolutions but it still makes a difference that you have a goal and want to better yourself, so stop judging people and get on with your own life, right!!

Another one of my New Year’s resolutions was to be nicer to people.

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My random protest

Yesterday I was casually walking along Princes street, as you do, when I saw a man with a megaphone and a crowd. My curiosity immediately peaked as when I saw a woman dressed as a fairy. I joined the crowd and ten minutes later I was involved in a huge march around Edinburgh. It turns out I was part of the ‘People’s climate march and gathering’.

It turns out the man with the microphone was Arron Thiery.

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He was one of the organisers of this march. This was to capture New York’s attention as three summits are being held on climate change I was informed, while standing next to a woman who looked like a tree (pictured below), that despite years and years of meetings and laws being introduced to prevent climate change, virtually, nothing has happened. Another one of the key points was to ‘bring people together and have fun.’

image << Tree woman with a fairy ahhh!!!

So after 10 minutes of listening to the earth’s gradual decline and how we could change it me and my slightly bewildered friend, we only went out for a subway, began to march.

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The march was actually fun. For 40 minutes I was a revolutionist amongst like-minded people. I happily waved at bus drivers as they waited for the looooooong group of hippies to move on. People gave us the finger, I viewed this as a backwards sign of love and moved on.

It was amazing to see so many people passionate about this cause. It wasn’t just young students who decided to join Greenpeace because it looks good on their CV but people of all ages. There was groups in their 60s, I presume, marching with their signs, families with young children and even dogs.

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About 20 minutes into the march I started feeling passionate about climate change. Simply put, global warming is happening so quickly. One of the facts mentioned was that in the 14 years since the millennium, 13 have been the hottest in history. If this continues to be ignored it will have serious consequences.

The slogan of the march was action not words.

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One of my favourite moments was when I heard a woman let out an exasperated sigh and walked over to a sign and grammatically corrected it. That was a beautiful moment.

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The march made me realise that this an issue that needs to be addressed more seriously. The more people that become involved the better chance climate justice has of being recognised. It is currently the Edinburgh World Justice Fair and these marches aren’t just happening in Edinburgh but all over the world. To become more active search Facebook for ‘World Justice Fair’ and see which one is local to you. Peace and love and all that jazz.

The cutthroat world of flat viewings

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You get to a stage in life, some call it adulthood, when you decide it is time to get your own abode.

I have reached this time in life.

I had my first flat viewing and I was raring to go. Me and Kathryn, the other abode sharer, were waiting outside the promise land. A two bedroom flat in Edinburgh. It was perfect. I could see myself staggering upstairs at night mentally calculating how much time I had to phone dominoes and what this would mean for the rest of the week financely.

I thought I was prepared, I was wrong. I was waiting outside the flat at quarter to 2. We were the first people there. Good sign. I got anxious about the competition. Everyone that approached was competition. I glared them down, subtly letting them know there was no time for small chat.

One man joined the group, he tried to engage in small talk, Kathryn decided to entertain him with his request. I gave Kathryn ‘the evils’. She had to know it was business from here on out.

A couple approached, I later found their names were Craig and Sarah. We will get back to them. They are vital in my story. Soon there was a sma crowd. I was starting to get nervous. There was more competition than anticipated.

Soon a woman approached, jingling the keys. She was too lax and happy. Surely she must have known the stress that was building. The tension thick amongst the group. We all knew no one was here to make friends. As we climbed the stairs, I got my game face on. Craig and Sarah looked relaxed, they were out main competitors.

We were inside the flat. Craig and Sarah had left early. I had excluded them from the competition. I was naive. I rushed around the bedrooms. Ripped the forms from the woman and bolted from the flat. This was my flat. I felt confident as I flew down the stairs hastily dialling the estate agents number.

After shouting down the phone to a surprised woman that I was ‘ON MY WAY’ I felt relaxed. I thought I had this in the bag. I phoned the taxi when I received a phone call. The estate agent to tell me someone had out down the deposit over the phone. I knew it was Craig and Sarah. I could see it in their eyes. The knew I was a newbie to this. I could picture them sitting in the flat sipping champagne while mocking me. I wished an evil fate among them. May all their wine turn to water. I was in full vengeance mode.

This experience was repeated. I phoned the taxi company requesting two taxis. One for me to the estate agents and one for Kathryn to the bank. However, at this exact moment, this man on the phone decided his job of telling a taxi to go to point A to point B was an extravagant event which required extreme detail. When I told him I needed two taxis I could practically see his fall into despair. I was on the phone to him for 6 minutes and 29 seconds. I then wished for a plague of locusts on him. Full bible mode was upon me. After the taxis were finally arranged. I got another call. The estate agent to tell my a ‘young gentleman’ had taken my flat. That man is no ‘young gentleman’. He is nothing but a snake. A slippery, slimy, flat stealing snake. I hope he tempts someone to take the swedge of knowledge and gets kicked out the flat of Eden (the meadows, who cares).

Well now I’m flatless but prepared. I have arranged flat viewings over a period of two days. I have acquired my own taxi , my mother, to get us quickly to point A to point B and never underestimate the Craig’s and Sarah’s of the world. They are the true evil.

TITP survival guide

This is my 3rd year in a row going to TITP. So will I be more prepared as a journalist student at the age of 20 than I was as a fresh ex-high school student just turned 18?

Well I packed my bag the night before leaving so I’m going to say no. However, my bag is extremely heavier than it was two years ago which suggests my drinking habits have increased with my age. I probably won’t address the problem until the age of 25 when I’m found under a lamppost claiming aliens took the dregs of my tesco’s finest vino.

Anyway … TITP isn’t about being prepared. Sometimes not being prepared is more fun.

This is just my tips that I’ve learned over the years.

The first year I went to TITP I had no clue what to expect. I’d never been to a festival before and it was my 18th birthday.

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Here I am on my 18th birthday! I’m the one wearing a sash. At this point I hadn’t learned the tip sneak drink in! It is £6 for one cocktail in an itty bitty glass. I searched but I couldn’t find the gold lacing on the plastic cup. My best tip is get a plastic flask. One with a clip! This is vital. Fill it with the strongest drink you have. The drunker you get the less the paint stripper after taste disgusts you. Clip under your top to your bra and saunter through the checks like the sassy bitch you are. I have no tips for males. I apologise. It’s a gender requires kinda tip.

Also if it rains you will get muddy! Unless the weather god is your personal servant and protects you, you’re perfect hair, make up, clothes etc are fucked. Excuse the french.

I swanned out of the refresh tent like a clean goddess. My inner iggie azealia judging all the muddy peasants. Until someone I can only describe as a deviant kicked mud at me. I was shocked! My inner iggy floated away and subo took her place. Embrace the mud. I don’t mean roll around in it, which I have seen people do, but if you get mud on your clothes channel bear grylls or get smashed. Both work.

Getting on someone’s shoulder is not as fun as it seems. Especially if they’re 6ft tall and smashed and when you ask to get down the practically choke slam you down.

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This would’ve been an amazing photo if that bitch hadn’t done this. She’s looking at me as she does this. She knows she’s stolen my golden photo. Not everyone appreciated your sassy-ness. However, it is fun watching people tumble off of drunken people’s shoulders. If you look closely you can see the regret on their face at they fall from the 7ft tall giant they’re  crouched upon.

The best thing to do is make sure you’re going with amazing friends. Some of best ever memories is at TITP. For example, my friend destroying another friends tent over the mystery of the lost lucozade while screaming ‘It’s not about the lucozade it’s about the sharing!’

Or going on the waterlogs have cut singing along to snoop dog.

Or assembling half of Manchester to build your tent as you realise a 6 man tent is not as easy to assemble as a 2 man.

Or one of your friends being preyed on by and older drunk male. This may not sound funny but we made up a song about to that makes it okay.

And just get wrecked.

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This may not be the best photo of me but look at my teeth! It’s like a Colgate advert for emos.

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The series of unfortunate events when moving back home

 

 

Moving out on your own is terrifying. You’ve never been on your own before, you’re overwhelmed and scared. However, fast forward a year you had a great time, life’s grand etc. Then you move back ‘home’. This is the really scary part. 

You no longer live by your own rules but the rules you were living by a year ago. The transition from independence to pulling out your hair happens in a matter of minutes. You wake up in the morning to an aggravated mother listing a never ending amount of stuff for you to do that day. ‘No. Sleep’ is never an acceptable answer. I learned this as a laundry basket was hurled at my head with a force Arnold Shwarzenegger would envy. 

Coming home from nights out has went from collapsing in bed to avoiding as many obstacles set up before smashing head first into something and waking up the entire house. No one cares about the fact you realised if you mix baileys and tia maria you have a perfect cocktail at half three in the morning. 

‘Do you have a job yet?’ This will happen before you enter the abode and are ganged up on in a car with no escape. However, the asphalt of a motorway does look tempting half way into the conversation. 

Predrinks at your house is no longer an option. After the first awkward experience of everyone crowding around a speaker trying to block the sound from reaching the Emmerdale theme tune in the living room you just meet people outside. 

Your physical appearance will get picked apart until your asking Joan Rivers for her surgeon’s number. My mother lost three stone while I was away, during this time she turned into Gillian McKeith, minus the toilet invading. I came home to a list of exercises and a diet plan. I read them while munching on cake. 

When you get into an argument with your mum or dad you turn back into a 14 year old. Instead of using the witty reply that exuded maturity you scream ‘I wish I never came home!’ Then storm to your room, sit on the bed for an hour and then wonder about like Smeagle trying not to get in anyone’s line of vision.

So don’t be nervous about moving out be nervous about coming back. 

On the plus side I don’t have to pay rent.

 

Merchiston’s on fire

Students were rushed out of Merchiston campus today as a fire spread through the building

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Edinburgh Napier university, Merchiston Campus, on Colinton rd set fire at 10.55 am today. Students evacuated outside and assumed it was routine. Napier student, Stuart Johnstone, 21, said, ‘It appeared just to be an ordinary fire alarm.’

However, 20 minutes later smoke was pouring out of the left wing of the building. The fire brigade arrived and all students were moved further from the sight as the smoke intensified.

A fire warden on site stated that there was a malfunction in one of the workshops and sparks began to appear. The sparks then went into the extractor fans and traveled through the building.

Reflective Piece

I didn’t expect to learn to the extent I have this year. When entering my first year of Napier I was still nervous but self assured that I already knew what to do, almost arrogantly so. However, a few weeks into my course I came to the harsh realisation that I was not God’s gift to the journalistic world. The year before entering university I went to Glasgow City College for a HNC in Practical Journalism. This led me to the false conclusion that I would already know most things in my course. However, throughout the course of the year, I learned a lot more about journalism, writing and myself as a journalist than I thought I would.  Having a blog also became a major help in developing a writing style

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Hard News Story

https://broganh.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/possible-debris-spotting-from-missing-plane/

I used to believe that hard news stories were easy because they were generally straight facts with no opinions. However, I realised while doing an assignment for Multimedia reporting that it was more difficult than intended.

I decided to compose a hard news story on the missing Malaysian plane. I thought I would be taking the easy route because so much information was circulating the media on the topic. Then I realised that was the problem, because there was so many stories and various information it was hard to filter through all of this to approach a specific angle. It was also a struggle to develop my own spin on the story when so many different angles had been covered and also to stray away form my usual writing style. My writing tends to be informal and to an extent humorous, I hope. Trying to develop a writing style with no opinion and purely about facts was more of a struggle than I realised but I feel it improved my writing technique and in result broadened my style.

Feature

https://broganh.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/whale-of-a-time/

https://broganh.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/the-backlash-of-blackfish-is-it-all-a-lie/

https://broganh.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/have-i-been-naive/

I have been all over the place with my features. If you read my blog, which is how you would read this, you would see that I have a love for killer whales. However, my opinion on matters such as SeaWorld and a documentary called Blackfish have changed immensely from the start of the course till now. My first post on my blog was about the monster which is SeaWorld, how they abuse killer whales and are evil. Looking back this seems so naive and this topic is the reason that I feel I have bettered myself as a journalist because it taught me the value of research.

After watching a documentary designed to make the viewer feel and not think I fell hook, line and sinker for it. Then a few things began to tweak my absolute resolve that the killer whales need to be saved. Then I decided I had to research and I realised that I had been completely blindsided. I had listened to biased information and not think twice into doing my own research and I learned that could be a major downfall for a journalist. It taught me never take what you hear for granted and always research as you can find out everything has been fabricated and also stop you from looking like a complete idiot.

Reviews

https://broganh.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/an-intro-to-a-bookworm-in-reform/

My favourite thing in the world is books, I love to read, always have, always will. This is why when it was suggested to do reviews I immediately knew my topic. However, this led me to discover how hard it is to break away from your comfort zone. When I first started my blog we were advised to break off from our comfort zone, my comfort zone is fantasy/paranormal novels. I was adamant that I could break way from what I knew and start to become cultured on other types of books such as murder mysteries and thrillers. I soon learned that this was a lot harder. I was so used to my regular type of books that it became difficult to get into anything else.

I learned that it is a lot harder to broaden your horizons than you think. Reviews also majorly helped me with my writing style. It enabled me to understand from a writer’s point, why certain things were written in that style, what language allowed the reader to become drawn in and how to capture attention from the beginning and these are all things that help me with my own journalistic writing. Writing for newspapers you have to be able to capture a reader’s attention straight away and keep then riveted to what you are writing. Reviewing novels helped me to understand this.

Conclusion

Throughout the course of my first year I have learned an extreme amount about journalism and myself as a writer. I learned the value of writing style, research, opinion and many other various topics. Throughout the course I have learned that writing can always be improved and also the importance of time. Meeting deadlines is immensely important and running about like a headless chicken does nothing to improve your writing which is something I am working on. Overall, I’ve learned that it is extremely easy to make mistakes and be intimated by others you believe are better than you but I understand that having a unique writing style that is continuously improving ensures success.

Have I been naive?

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I have always liked killer whales. I dunno why I just have, therefor I watch a lot of killer whale documentaries. One day I was searching for a killer whale documentary and up pops Blackfish. After I watched it I was shocked and devastated. I had no opinion of SeaWorld before this. I went to SeaWorld once when I was eight and got lost looking at dolphins that’s it. After I watched Blackfish I pictured SeaWorld as this major greedy corporation that abuses killer whales for money and I’m not so sure anymore.

I have mentioned Blackfish a lot on this blog and throughout the short time I’ve had this blog you can see my opinion slowly begin to change. After I watched Blackfish the first time I was a wannabe ‘whale activist’ set on freeing these poor abused animals from the evil SeaWorld. I didn’t consider for one minute that my emotions were being manipulated. Looking at Blackfish now my perspective is very different.

There were a few things at the start that begin to tweak my absolute hatred of SeaWorld and adoration of Blackfish. I watch a lot of whale documentaries so one day I watched a documentary called ‘The Whale’, I would advise everyone to watch this. It’s an amazing documentary, it’s not about abused killer whales or anything like that but more about the struggle of friendship between humans and animals like killer whales and how on rare occasions that wall is broken down. Anyway, I was watching The Whale when a few scenes began to look familiar. I realised that Blackfish had taken a few of these scenes then added them in at certain points for dramatic effect. This can be seen quite a lot in Blackfish. The scenes of killer whales being captured at the start comes form a documentary about Lolita and so on.

A few other things began to pop up. Halfway through Blackfish, the former trainers make a point that killer whales are dangerous to humans and at the end there is a close up of a trainer with his face all cut and bloody. This is edited in to make it seem as though a killer whale did this when actually the trainer accidentally ran into a screen and cut himself. Even after seeing this I didn’t want to believe that Blackfish was propaganda against SeaWorld. I was set on trying to make a difference to free these animals and I didn’t want to be swayed from this.

While doing another article on the proposed ban of orca captivity in California I did a bit of research. The idea to release orcas back into the wild or relocate them to sea pens is a very romantic idea. However, that’s the problem, out of all the orcas to be transported either to the wild or sea pens only one orca has a fair chance of survival after this move. That made me think am I just wrapped up in this ‘free the whales’ craze. Is this really what’s best for these animals.

The former trainers in the documentary where trainers decades ago and things change and some of them left SeaWorld in unfavorable terms so obviously they would be willing to bash SeaWorld.

Then I finally did some research into ‘the enemy’ SeaWorld. It turns out that killer whales haven’t been captured for SeaWorld since the late 70s early 80s, nearly all killer whales in SeaWorld have been bred there and the ones that haven’t been bred there were caught decades ago. I’m not saying I’m condoning it but these whales would die if they were released back into the wild. All other marine mammals are rescued with intent to be released back into the wild and so much time and effort goes into care for them.

I started reading posts and watching videos of those against Blackfish and some of the thigns make you question if you’re doing this for the whales or for yourself? Then again the stuff against Blackfish is so one sided I feel like I’m being manipulated all over again. So now I don’t know where I stand on the matter anymore because I don’t have any inside views. I can take one side or the other but really all I know is stuff coming from someone’s biased mouth.

While watching a video with a recent former trainer he made an excellent point. So many other things are happening in the world, illegal pouching, the zoo that killed their animals and that’s only the animal side of it. If this much effort went into these things that are genuinely wrong and not a case of special effects or word of mouth a real difference can be made.

The fact that Richard Bloom is trying to ban orca captivity in California after watching Blackfish shows how powerful this documentary is. However, I think it’s really, really poor of him to make such a major change to so many lives, human and animals, after one documentary.

Currently, I don’t know where to stand on the matter? SeaWorld help so many other animals and when it comes down to it isn’t evil at all but I don’t see why killer whales and other animals have to perform backflips etc. for food. Can’t they just be observed naturally. On the other hand, if you take killer whales out of SeaWorld and into sea pens and the wild the chances are these whales will die and for no other reason than because we thought it was wrong.

The next Free Willy?

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Californian assemblyman, Richard Bloom, has proposed a ban on orca captivity in the Californian state to take place. The bill would make it illegal to hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes.” It also would ban artificial insemination of captive killer whales and block the import of orcas or orca semen. After controversial documentary ‘Blackfish’ by Gabrielle Cowperwaithe highlighted the alleged abuse on orcas at SeaWorld there has been a lot of support for this bill to be passed. However, there are many who claim that this bill is irrelevant and could potentially be dangerous for the killer whales.

This proposal for the law to be passed was after the wake of controversial documentary on SeaWorld ‘Blackfish’. After ‘Blackfish ‘was released it went global after originally only been shown at five cinemas in Canada after the Sundance festival. This has sparked major backlash on SeaWorld and many are demanding the orcas be released. Richard Bloom has stated: ‘There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes. These beautiful creatures are much too large and far too intelligent to be confined in small, concrete pens for their entire lives. It is time to end the practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement.”

This is not a foreign concept at India, Croatia, Costa Rica, Hungary and Chile have banned cetacean captivity and Switzerland have banned dolphin captivity. Under this law there would be 10 orcas that would be released from SeaWorld in San Diego ranging from wild caught orcas such as Corgi aged 36 and captivity bred orcas such as Kastaka.

Green Peace member and active petitioner, Oskar Bindere, stated:

‘I am in full support of Bloom’s movement. I feel that orca captivity is outdated and barbaric. Not only orca captivity but a lot of captivity for animals, it is unfair and unjust.’

When asking Bindere how he felt towards the documentary, Blackfish that led to this proposed law he stated:

‘I did watch Blackfish. I have mixed feelings towards the documentary. On the one hand, I understand where the documentary comes from and they’re not untrue ideals they have presented. On the other hand I do feel like the truth has been twisted slightly to fit their point. That is something I do not agree with the truth speaks for itself.’

The proposal has shocked the captivity world. There has been positive and negative feedback on the proposal. However, after the proposal was made there was a reported drop in SeaWorld stock.

When Bloom was speaking with takepart.com he stated that captivity was not on his radar before watching the chilling documentary Blackfish.

Bloom states:

‘I’m not a big fan of extremists in any form. This bill came about as a result of my involvement in the issue. No one had influence over me, other than my having seen Blackfish and contacted scientists.

As for their second argument, I completely understand the economic value and jobs that SeaWorld provides. But I don’t think anybody would ever argue that we can justify jobs by supporting bad conduct.’

If the bill is passed it is reported that SeaWorld will be the ones to do the clearing up. They will have to relocate the orcas whether that be releasing them into the wild or sending them to sea pens.

After receiving word of the proposed law SeaWorld’s lobbyist released a statement saying that this is the doing of “extreme animal activists” some of whom “partnered with PETA in bringing the meritless claim that animals in human care should be considered slaves under the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — a clear publicity stunt.’

Another critic towards the idea is Marine Mammal Parks past President Billy Hurley. He stated:

“It’s very easy for some of the extremists to say things like, ‘Oh, if we had a sanctuary, if we had a sea pen, it would just be so much different.’ And the reality is that if you had a sea pen, you would still need veterinary care, you would still need qualified people to take care of the animals, you would still need to be careful about those types of environmental changes that could occur while the animals were in those conditions. The list goes on and on.’

Personally, I am for Bloom’s proposition and I am very intrigued as to what will happen when the bill is passed. However, I am very aware of the fact that there are both pros and cons.

I am aware that orcas have sensory deprivation in captivity and their lives are being shortened. However, a lot of whales will die if they are released back into the wild. I do believe that captivity led to the killer whale Tillikum’s psychosis and that eventually led to Dawn Brancheu’s death.

Orcas are intelligent creatures and, in my opinion, there is no valid argument to capture these mammals and make them perform for entertainment and money.