March 17, 2016 marked a historic day for SeaWorld and animal rights groups as the marine park company announced that it would end breeding of its killer whales immediately, making the current generation of SeaWorld orcas the last generation under their care.
The same day, SeaWorld San Diego park president John Reilly held a joint press conference with Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-CA) to announce a renewed attempt at passage of Bloom’s Orca Welfare and Safety Act, which was originally introduced in 2014 but did not pass. The new bill was different from the old one, not requiring that orcas be moved to sea pens, but the fact that SeaWorld would support a bill they had formerly so vehemently opposed was surprising.
The reason SeaWorld did so was to make sure people did not doubt that they would keep their word, in California at least. “While I wholeheartedly endorse SeaWorld’s announcement today, company leadership can change and with it, so can company directions”, Bloom said in the press conference. “I owe it to the people of California and to the animal welfare advocates who have been at the forefront in calling for this change to give them the assurance they need and deserve.”
But the new Orca Welfare and Safety Act, which would ban orca breeding, transfer, and theatrical shows, is not best for the animals’ welfare. As stated in Bloom’s press release, “[s]cientists studying killer whales in the wild have documented the close social bonds these animals share”. Orcas are highly social – and eventually, there will be only one orca left at SeaWorld San Diego. The Orca Welfare and Safety Act would prevent that animal from being able to be transferred elsewhere to be with other orcas, either to another SeaWorld park or one of the several other marine parks around the world.
Please, join us in protecting orcas and oppose the Orca Welfare and Safety Act by signing our petition and sharing with the hashtags #DontLeaveThemAlone and #ForTheOrcas.