- California state assembly member Richard Bloom has proposed new bill
- The Orca Welfare and Safety Act was introduced today
- If passed it would ban killer whales being used for entertainment purposes
- Similar bans already exist in India, Croatia, Hungary and Chile
17:25 GMT, 7 March 2014
18:49 GMT, 7 March 2014
A controversial new bill proposed by a Californian politician could mark the end of popular Shamu shows at SeaWorld.
If passed, the bill would be the most comprehensive protection law for orcas held in captive, in the U.S. for more than 40 years, according to the man behind the proposed legislation.
State Assembly member Richard Bloom, will introduce the Orca Welfare and Safety Act today.
In one of the most tragic incidents involving killer whales at Sea World, Dawn Brancheau (pictured) died after being grabbed by an orca
The bill would make it illegal to ‘hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes’.
The proposed bill would also ban the artificial insemination of captive killer whales in the state of California and block the import of orcas or orca semen from other states.
Under the rules, those violating such a law, would face a fine of up to $100,000 and/or six months in prison.
In a written statement Mr Bloom said: ‘There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes.
‘These beautiful creatures are much too large and far too intelligent to be confined in small, concrete pens for their entire lives. It is time to end the practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement.’
He said under the terms of the bill, the 10 orcas in captive at SeaWorld in San Diego, would be ‘rehabilitated and returned to the wild where possible’.
Where that is not possible, the whales should be kept in a sea pen, that is open to the public but not used for entertainment purposes, Mr Bloom said.
Under the terms of the bill orcas held for rehabilitation after being rescued or stranded, or for research purposes, would be exempt from the conditions but would be kept in a sea pen.
If it becomes law, the the Orca Welfare and Safety Acl proposed by state assembly member in California Richard Bloom, would make it illegal to ‘hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes’
In 1992 South Carolina passed a bill to outlaw the captivity of killer whales, dolphins and porpoises, to stop a proposed dolphin park from opening in the state.
Last month New York state senator Greg Ball introduced a bill to ban orca captivity.
Countries including India, Croatia, Hungary, Chile and Costa Rica, have outlawed the captivity of all dolphins, whales and porpoises.
Dr Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, said the bill was inspired by the orcas-in-captivity documentary Blackfish.
‘The Blackfish effect has never been in greater evidence—everything has led to this, the first serious legislative proposal to prohibit the captive display of this highly intelligent and social species,’ Dr Rose told Take Part.
‘SeaWorld should join with this effort rather than continue to fight it. They can be on the right side of history.’
Mr Bloom asked Dr Rose and her team at Blackfish to help with the bill.
Dr Rose said while they did not initiate the proposal they helped in anyway they could, with bill language, information and gathering facts, as well as getting support from the public and scientific community.