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Update: California Bill Would Free Orcas at SeaWorld

Written by Michelle Kretzer | April 8, 2014

Update: California residents packed the State Assembly today to show support for The Orca Welfare and Safety Act. The Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee decided to further study the issue before voting on the bill. The writing is on the wall. The public has learned how orcas suffer psychologically, die prematurely, and lash out in frustration and aggression in SeaWorld’s prisons, and consumers have responded with lower attendance levels, public protests, and legislation. SeaWorld can take the time between now and when the bill comes to a vote next year to figure out how to release the orcas into ocean sanctuaries.

Originally posted on  March 7, 2013:

The captive orcas at SeaWorld San Diego may soon be headed for freedom in spacious ocean sanctuaries.

Today, California State Assembly Member Richard Bloom introduced the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, which would make it illegal to “hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes.”

Jumping Orca

The bill would also put a damper on SeaWorld’s breeding operation by banning artificial insemination of captive killer whales within the state and blocking the import of orca semen from other states.

If the bill passes, SeaWorld San Diego will be forced to work to rehabilitate the orcas and return them to the wild when possible or transfer them to protected ocean sanctuaries. In the 21st century, it’s time to recognize that the orcas and dolphins held captive at SeaWorld do not belong there at all. Their containment in pitiful swimming pools instead of great oceans and in isolation instead of pods reflects our own species’ greed and obliviousness. At SeaWorld and other animal abusement parks, these magnificent beings are separated from their families—including babies who are torn from their mothers’ sides—and can swim only in endless circles between concrete walls, the constant stress of confinement driving them to lash out violently in frustration at each other and their human captors.

PETA and kind people around the world have called on SeaWorld to retire these deprived orcas to a seaside sanctuary, but the park continues to defend its overt cruelty. This bill has the potential to end the deep injustice of exhibitions of captive marine life.

Animal advocates, we can’t afford to let this opportunity pass us by. If you live in California, please e-mail Assembly Member Richard Bloom  and thank him for introducing the Orca Welfare and Safety Act. And please contact your own California State Assembly members and urge them to support the bill.

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  • Leanne Fitzpatrick says:

    So terribly saddened by plight of these magnificent creatures held in captivity, and for what purpose – to line the pockets of a know Seaworld does wonderful work with rehabilitation of sick and injured marine life, so this practice of keeping them in tanks and for show is the antithesis of the good work they do.

  • Marla Summers says:

    Free these Orcas! All these places want is a profit. All about money! Let these animals free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Amanda says:

    I just saw the Documentary Blackfish. I’m devastated at what I saw. I’ve been to SeaWorld once as a child and I’m SO glad that I’ve never been back. My heart truly breaks for these beautiful animals and this whole thing leaves me speechless. I support Blooms bill 100%! Please free these animals!

    Everyday they are living like this and it’s horrible. It’s no wonder why they have attacked and killed people. Hello!! They are not supposed to be there, living like this. SeaWorld needs to be held responsible and ultimately should be shut down.

  • Tiffany says:

    I don’t understand how anyone can call SeaWorld entertainment! watching captive orcas doing tricks while eating some popcorn doesn’t sound like my kind of fun! I would much rather them be free and be with their families. As far as SeaWorld saying they are used for “education”… there is no excuse for that, I survived without going to SeaWorld, and I am pretty sure our children will as well. All animals should be freed from aquariums/zoos/SeaWorld/Circus’s.

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