California Governor, Jerry Brown, is accepting the bill requiring SeaWorld to end killer whale breeding and entertainment shows.
Under the new act, legislation SB839, corporation and individuals are prohibited from breeding killer whales in captivity. Those who contradict will fined up to $100,000, though there are exceptions for educational establishments that research and rehabilitate marine mammals.
Appallingly, as of right now, SeaWorld continues to holds 24 orcas in captivity at parks in California, Texas, and Florida. In March, the company announced it would soon end their infamous Shamu shows, and the breeding of killer whales altogether.
In a statement, SeaWorld confirmed the new law compliments the company’s views, also making it clear that they are legally sanctioned to capture new whales, with the intention of bringing them back to the wild.
SeaWorld stated this on their official website:
“The bill does allow for SeaWorld to rescue and rehabilitate stranded orcas, with the goal of returning them to the wild, as is the case with all animals we rescue. And, if the federal government determines that the orca is not releasable, that animal could stay in SeaWorld’s care.”
Attendance has significantly dropped at SeaWorld since the release of the critically acclaimed 2013 documentary Blackfish, and for a good reason. The documentary shed some much needed light on the company’s mistreatment of the marine animals, dating all the way back to the 1983 capture of Tilikum, the project’s main subject.
Disturbing scenes highlight the captivity of Tilikum, an orca involved in the deaths of three individuals, and the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity. The film features footage of the killer whale attacking his trainers and other captive whales, including interviews with witnesses and distressed former employees of the organization.
The new orca displays will begin next year San Diego’s SeaWorld park, and expand to the other locations by 2019.
Watch the trailer for Blackfish below.
Main image courtesy of Hafiz Issadeen via Flickr