California Officially Bans the Captivity of Orcas!
This week, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that makes California the first state to officially ban the captivity and breeding of orcas. The measure will go into effect in 2017, bringing an end to the import of killer whales and theatrical shows for viewers’ pleasure.
Orcas already being held captive in the state may remain, but any shows in which they are forced to participate must be “educational presentations.” San Diego’s SeaWorld must have seen this move coming, as it came under heat after suing the California Coastal Committee after it’s decision last October to ban breeding practices. This March, SeaWorld announced its partnership with The Humane Society and plan to voluntarily end breeding programs, yet this new California law will certainly hold them to their word.
SeaWorld San Diego plans to keep its 11 captive orcas, but there is some solace in knowing no future killer whales will endure the same fate. The “Blackfish effect” has sent ripples through the US since its 2013 release, leading to countless protests and forcing the hand of the biggest marine “entertainment” business in the country. The fact that the new California law encourages the return of orcas, if possible, to the wild shows how compassion has taken bloom from planted seeds.
Photo credit: Wikimedia