Update: On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, the California State Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee ordered that Assembly Bill 2140 be revised and returned to the committee after a year and a half. Although the bill is on hold, the committee was not against the proposal, and some assembly members even stated their support of the bill. The orcas held captive at SeaWorld San Diego are now one step closer to freedom in ocean sanctuaries! In the meantime, there are still many things you can do to help orcas at SeaWorld. See below. 

The orcas imprisoned at SeaWorld San Diego may soon be headed for freedom in spacious ocean sanctuaries. California State Assembly Member Richard Bloom introduced the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, which would make it illegal to hold in captivity or use any orca for performance or entertainment purposes. The bill would also ban captive breeding of whales in California and block the import of orca semen from other states.

orca capture photo

© Terrell C. Newby, Ph.D. 

The bill will be voted on in the coming months, and if passed, SeaWorld San Diego will be forced to work to rehabilitate all 10 orcas trapped at their park and return them to the wild if possible or transfer them to protected ocean sanctuaries that will be visible to the public. California would join the state of South Carolina and the island of Maui, Hawaii, in saying no to whale captivity. Countries like Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Hungry, India, and Switzerland already have similar bans in place.

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Currently, SeaWorld separates orcas from their families and confines them to tanks that are so small they represent only 0.0001 percent of the distance that the whales would travel in a single day in the ocean. At SeaWorld, 37 orcas have died, and every one of them did so before the age of 30 years, whereas the average life expectancy of orcas in the wild is between 30 and 50 years. No captive orca has come close to the maximum age of between 60 and 70 for males and more than 100 for females.

What can you do to help?

1. If you live in California, please e-mail Assembly Member Richard Bloom and thank him for introducing the Orca Welfare and Safety Act and contact your own California State Assembly members and urge them to support the bill.

seaworld protest 1

2. If you don’t live in California, there is still a lot that you can do to help animals imprisoned at marine animal parks. Pledge never to go to ANY SeaWorld park and urge your friends and family to stay away, too. Join the peta2, and sign up for text alerts. We’ll notify you about demonstrations in your area and other ways that you can help animals. If you’re over 22, you can also join PETA’s Action Team.

3. Watch Blackfish for more information on SeaWorld. The shocking documentary about whales in captivity is now available on Netflix!

4. Be a voice for imprisoned orcas and share this news on Facebook!

SeaWorld captivity orcas

Jo-Anne McArthur / WeAnimals 

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