California lawmaker Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica) introduced landmark legislation last week to ban the captivity of orcas, also known as killer whales, for entertainment. Titled the “Orca Welfare and Safety Act,” the bill was inspired by the hit documentary ‘Blackfish’ that reveals the horrifying side of keeping killer whales in captivity. “There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes,” said Bloom in a prepared statement on Friday. “These beautiful creatures are much too large and far too intelligent to be confined in small, concrete tanks for their entire lives.”
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Since its debut last year, the documentary film Blackfish has been influential in altering public opinion of SeaWorld and even led to a string of prominent musical artists to cancel their SeaWorld concerts. The gripping film exposes stories of killer whale mistreatment as well as the under publicized deaths and injuries of SeaWorld trainers. SeaWorld, which runs parks in San Diego, Ca., Orlando, Fla., and San Antonio, Texas and has 10 orcas in captivity in California, aggressively pushed back to refute these charges of abuse.
If passed into law, the legislation would gradually phase out the captivity of orcas for entertainment purposes by prohibiting the breeding of captive animals. Other orcas kept in captivity would be retired to sea pens and could be put on educational display. To pass, the bill will need a simple majority vote.
Want to learn how you can help enact the Orca Welfare and Safety Act? Sign this petition to end performance-based entertainment for killer whales in California.