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New California bill threatens orca shows at SeaWorld

By Joy Perrone,

Inspired by the documentary Blackfish, a California lawmaker is proposing a new bill that would place a ban on the use of captive killer whales for entertainment.

SeaWorld has come under a lot of fire recently for its treatment of orca whales, explained in the CNN documentary Blackfish. The documentary focused on the bull orca whale Tilikum, who lives at SeaWorld and has been responsible for three deaths.

Inspired by the controversial documentary, Assemblyman Richard Bloom is proposing a bill that would make it illegal for orcas to perform in aquarium shows, reported CNN.

"It is time that we embrace that the long-accepted practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement must end," Bloom said at a press conference, accompanied by the Blackfish director, two former SeaWorld orca trainers and an animal welfare activist.

Currently, there is no law against using the whales as entertainment displays. Bloom's law would outlaw orca shows, therefore keeping trainer and whale interaction at a minimum, and would also place restrictions on captive breeding programs, the exchange of genetic material and the import and export of orcas within the state of California.

SeaWorld has spoken out in criticism of the proposed bill. Becca Bides, SeaWorld spokeswoman, said, "We engage in business practices that are responsible, sustainable and reflective of the balanced values all Americans share," while simultaneously criticizing the nature of the bill as "unconstitutional" and casting doubts on the expertise of Bloom's advising team.

SeaWorld recently made headlines when a dolphin in their exhibit bit a 9-year-old child. The incident led animal rights group PETA to speak out against the company, saying, “SeaWorld has repeatedly shown a complete disregard for federal laws meant to protect animal welfare and public safety and has tried to brush off this latest incident."

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

 

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