SeaWorld’s Worst Nightmare
California Assemblyman Richard Bloom has taken legislative action. After seeing the documentary “Blackfish”, he proposed a bill called “The Orca Welfare and Safety Act” that would ban orca performances and captive breeding.
"It is time that we embrace that the long-accepted practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement must end," he said at a press conference Friday when unveiling details of his bill. “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 tanks for their entire lives.”
The legislation has three central objectives: end the use of performing orcas in theme shows, ban captive breeding, and prohibit the import and export of the so-called “killer” whales. The park would still be allowed to put whales on exhibit in settings similar to aquariums, but they will not be used for performance or entertainment purposes. The legislation would apply to any park in California that provides such entertainment, but San Diego’s SeaWorld currently is the only one.
SeaWorld spokesperson Becca Bides criticized the bill.
“The premise behind this proposed legislation is severely flawed on multiple levels, and its validity is highly questionable under the United States and California Constitutions,” Bides said in a statement. “We trust that our leaders who are responsible for voting on this proposal will recognize the clear bias of those behind the bill.”
In the past 50 years, California has lost 14 orcas, 12 of which were caught in the wild, Bloom said.
“In their natural habitat, orcas are family-oriented, highly adaptable, socially complex with cultural traditions and (are among) the most intelligent creatures on this planet,” he said. “If we truly want to help orca conservation, we should focus our efforts on restoring habitat in the wild and protecting our oceans.”
No hearing date for Assembly Bill 2140 has been set.
Let’s not forget how SeaWorld was also cited by the USDA for violating the Animal Welfare Act, specifically for keeping expired veterinary materials - dozens of expired surgical sutures were found in the park’s surgery room which could lead to life-threatening infections in the animals - and for neglecting to repair dislodged and crumbling rubber floor which animals walk on during performances. (via SeaWorld Cited By USDA For Violating Animal Welfare Act)