California Bans Breeding of Killer Whales in Captivity, Entertainment Shows
A recently passed law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown is now prohibiting marine parks and companies in California from breeding and capturing killer whales or orcas.
The law, authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, will also ban the use of the large marine mammal in entertainment shows. However, scientific and educational institutions that have killer whales for research and rehabilitation are exempted from the new law.
According to the report from Independent, the move to ban orca captivity and breeding in California follows the decision of SeaWorld to end it orcas breeding program and popular "shamu" shows. SeaWorld came under fire after a 2013 documentary titled Blackfish featured the practice of the park to capture orcas in the wild and raise them in dark, cramped conditions.
At present, SeaWorld still has 24 orcas in captivity in their parks in California, Texas and Florida. The San Diego park of Sea World plans to retain their 11 orcas for their safety.
"Most of SeaWorld's orcas were born in a zoological setting and the environmental threats in our oceans, like oil spills and pollution are huge dangers for these animals," the company said in a report from CNN. "The best, and safest, future for these whales is to let them live out their lives at SeaWorld, receiving top care, in state-of-the-art habitats."
SeaWorld also claim that their parks will still be allowed to rescue and rehabilitate stranded killer whales, as long as they return it back to the wild. And if by chance the orcas were not deemed to be safe enough to be released back in the wild, it will remain under the park's care.
The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shows support for the California's new law.
"Future generations of orcas will not endure the deprivation, stress, and frustration of being trapped in a tiny concrete tank," said Tracy Reiman, vice president of PETA, in a report from Reuters.
The new law, dubbed as SB839, will take effect in 2017. Parks and companies that will break the new law will be fined up to $100,000.
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