Could This New Ban Be The End For SeaWorld?

Photo: Ilpo Musto/Rex/REX USA
Thanks to a new California law, SeaWorld can no longer breed killer whales in captivity. According to The Guardian, the ban, a last-minute proposal by the California Coastal Commission during a daylong hearing, is an amendment to their approval of a $100 million expansion of the tanks used to house marine mammals, like the orca in SeaWorld’s San Diego facility. The amendment does not ban the breeding of captive killer whales in other states besides California, but it does prohibit the sale, trade, or transfer of the whales. SeaWorld San Diego, which is currently home to 11 orca, says it's unhappy with the amendment to its expansion, which is set to open in 2018 and will triple the size of current tanks. “Breeding is a natural, fundamental, and important part of an animal’s life and depriving a social animal of the right to reproduce is inhumane,” the park said in a statement. With the passing of this amendment, animal rights groups agree that the ban, which includes artificial insemination, is a massive blow to the use of killer whales at the park. “The commission’s action today ensures that no more orcas will be condemned to a nonlife of loneliness, deprivation, and misery,” PETA said in a statement. Jared Goodman, the animal rights group's lawyer, added, "These 11 orcas would be the last 11 orcas there.” The California Coastal Commission also added other conditions to the approval of the expansion in San Diego, including that no new whales from the wild will be kept there. SeaWorld says it has not captured wild orca in over 30 years. Since the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which took a look at the violent behavior of orca kept in captivity, SeaWorld's attendance has dropped along with its stock prices.

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