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"Blackfish" director applauds SeaWorld changes
In this June 20, 2013 file photo, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite attends a screening of "Blackfish" in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
  • ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)
  • --

The director of the documentary "Blackfish" is applauding SeaWorld's decision to end its orca breeding program.

Gabriela Cowperthwaite says she also is applauding the public for reconsidering attitudes toward killer whales in captivity.

She tells The Associated Press that SeaWorld's announcement is a defining moment for the company. She says breeding orcas and exporting whales to international parks is the heart of SeaWorld's business model, so an immediate end to breeding is a "huge step and paradigm shift."

The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums said in a statement Thursday that "Blackfish" spread lies and misinformation about captive orcas and SeaWorld.

Cowperthwaite counters that scientists, consumers and animal rights advocates doing independent research since the film came out reached the same conclusion, all finding that keeping killer whales in captivity is inhumane.