Update: SeaWorld Plans to Sue After Ban on Breeding Orcas
Just a few weeks ago, the news was announced that SeaWorld San Diego was banned from breeding any of their 11 remaining orcas–a ban that included prohibiting the sale, transfer or trade of these captive whales as well.
While San Diego SeaWorld president John Reilly stated the ban would lead to “extinction”, and the park released a statement saying they would “review their options” in light of the decision, whether or not they would go on to take legal action remained a mystery.
A mystery no more, it has now been confirmed that SeaWorld plans to actually go ahead and attempt to sue the California Coastal Committee for their ruling on October 8 that put the ban in place as a condition for their approval of the park’s proposed expansion program. Knowing full well this ban would lead to the end of their well known orca shows, SeaWorld will attempt to reverse the decision based on their belief that imposing conditions for marine animals is something only the federal government has the right to do.
SeaWorld president and chief executive Joel Manby stated:
“The Coastal Commission went way beyond its jurisdiction and authority when it banned breeding by killer whales at SeaWorld. By imposing broad new jurisdiction over all future SeaWorld marine animal projects, as well as aquarium projects elsewhere in the state, the commission has overstepped both federal and California law.”
After the surprise ruling itself, Manby had stated:
“It simply defies common sense that a straightforward land-use permit approval would turn into a ban on animal husbandry practices — an area in which the commissioners have no education, training or expertise.”
While the date of the lawsuit is not yet clear, the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums released a statement in favor of SeaWorld’s decision, stating that the ban “sets a very dangerous precedent not only for SeaWorld, but for the entire zoological community, and SeaWorld is right to challenge it.”
With a 12% decrease in attendance last year that many attribute to the release of the documentary Blackfish, SeaWorld seems to stubbornly be holding on to their spotlight show–although the popularity continues to dwindle with or without the ban in place.
Photo Credit: offclouds.com