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California Bans All Killer Whale Captive Breeding Programs

Flickr: Matthew Allen

California just banned all Orca shows and breeding programs.

Putting an end to all captive breeding programs for killer whales, like the one SeaWorld has run for decades, Calif. Governor Jerry Brown signed into action a measure making sure mistreatment of these animals will no longer take place in the Golden State.

This comes after growing public outcry to end captive breeding and exploitative shows of the whales. It’s also another step forward after the documentary Blackfish exposed the cruel and dangerous nature of why killer whales do not belong in small tanks in amusement parks.

While SeaWorld announced news to phase out captive breeding programs in Florida and California in March, legislation to prevent these programs from appearing again in California is great progress.  

The bill, SB 839, which Brown signed into effect Tuesday, prohibits corporations, individuals, and organizations from breeding killer whale in captivity. Perpetrators can face up to $100,000 in fines.

Read More: SeaWorld Ends All Orca Shows and Captive Breeding

The bill still allows organizations to capture killer whales for the purpose of rescue and rehabilitation, which SeaWorld seems to be a little fishy about still.

“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,” SeaWorld said on their website in response to the bill.  

But even if SeaWorld can’t fully “Free Willy,” they do have plans to shift their theatrical shows to “education-based encounters” and support the new measures to put the health and well-being of the whales first. For that, and this new bill we can all be grateful for.

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