California Governor Jerry Brown has recently signed a law into effect that will make it illegal for killer whales to be bred in captivity. The new rules will also make it illegal for anyone, individual or organization, to force the majestic animals to perform in shows.
Any individual or organization doing so can face a hefty fine; up to $100,000.
Back in March of 2016, SeaWorld stated that it planned to halt its orca-breeding program, presumably as part of the backlash from the 2013 film Blackfish. The documentary, which is widely available on Netflix and other streaming sources, revealed to the public the confined and cramped conditions that the whales are forced to live in. Many have suffered serious side effects due to the tiny conditions, and in some cases, have fatally attacked workers at the amusement park.
SeaWorld in California has stated that it will replace the whale shows that were once a staple of the theme park with educational based encounters. This will allow guests to learn about the animals without having to coax them into entertainment.
The company has said that they plan to change the program instead of releasing the orcas into the wild simply because most the animals that live at SeaWorld have been born into captivity. Releasing them into their natural habitat would likely result in a death sentence, therefore keeping them and no longer forcing them to perform is a middle ground the company feels it can adhere to.
The new educational presentations will begin next year in California, but aren’t set to spread to the company’s other theme parks until 2019. It is unclear if the other non-California based SeaWorld locations will be required to stop breeding orcas, or if they can continue until 2019, or perhaps indefinitely.
SeaWorld has noted that this does not mean that they are unable to rescue whales that have been stranded and rehabilitate them. These whales can be added to the pack of those already living in captivity if the company sees fit.
Anna Scanlon is finishing up her PhD in History at the University of Leicester. She makes a living as a freelance writer for several websites, including New Life Outlook where she discusses her struggle with lupus SLE. She is the author of three YA books:Unravelled, The Remnants and Children of the Most High. Anna also runs the lifestyle and veganism blog and accompanyingYouTube channel Anna in Wonderland:
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