Calif. Ban On Shows With Captive Whales Tabled For Now

A recent bill that would ban shows featuring captive whales at places like SeaWorld has been put on hold. SeaWorld says its whales live quality lives.
Posted at 6:34 PM, Apr 08, 2014

A controversial bill banning killer whales in shows has been tabled until next year. This is the latest move from The Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee of the California Assembly after a Tuesday hearing.

​For now, the move favors SeaWorld, which has been fighting the bill and animal rights activists since its introduction in February. (Via KNSD)

The bill was inspired by the popularity of a recent film, "Blackfish," documenting the controversy over killer whales in captivity. It's a film SeaWorld executives say is misleading. (Via Magnolia Pictures / "Blackfish")

According to CBS, park officials say the documentary distorts facts. It quotes one executive saying: "That argument is not based on credible peer-reviewed science. It's based on emotion and a propaganda film."

SeaWorld also says the bill would not only hurt its business, which employs more than 4,000 people and attracts nearly 5 million visitors a year, but it would, ironically, hurt its animals as well.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the bill would halt research ​and take away learning opportunities from its shows.

SeaWorld's president says the shows have the animals display behaviors — like exercising — that veterinarians would have them do even without a crowd watching. (Via SeaWorld)

And according to SeaWorld's trainers, those animals live quality lives.

"Nobody cares about those animals more than the ones that are boots-on-the-ground there with them." (Via KENS)

But activists delivered more than 1 million signatures in support of the bill to the Capitol Tuesday — claiming SeaWorld is exploiting the whales. KOVR quotes one activist who says, "These whales are not thriving in captivity."

If passed, the bill would ban importing and exporting orcas in California. All existing orcas at SeaWorld's park in San Diego would also have to be moved to larger pools near the shore.