SeaWorld banned from breeding orcas
Ruling hailed as victory for animal rights
SeaWorld has been banned from breeding captive orcas by the California Coastal Commission.
But the ban on breeding, including through artificial insemination, only applies in the California park and not SeaWorld facilities in other US states. The commission also prohibited the sale, trade or transfer of captive orcas within the state.
An orca at San Diego Sea World. Credit: Yathin S Krishnappa
The commission made the ruling as SeaWorld applied to update and expand its existing orca pools. This would have used water from the local bay area, resulting in the case falling under the jurisdiction of the Coastal Commission.
Victory for campaigners
The decision was seen as a victory for animal rights and marine conservation groups. “This decision means SeaWorld can’t open this new pool and breed too,” Danny Groves of the lobby group, Whale and Dolphin Conservation told The New Scientist. “What you’re seeing slowly but surely is the world turning its back on captivity.”
Jennifer Fearing, a lobbyist for The Humane Society of the United States, said that if SeaWorld abandons its expansion for its orca facility to get around having its breeding program banned, then it risks giving the public the perception that it never intended to build bigger tanks to benefit the park's 11 killer whales and would rather simply breed more in captivity.
The Commission has not made a direct statement but Dayna Bochco, the vice chairwoman of the Coastal Commission, said that captivity itself is the “primary cruelty”.
SeaWorld has said it will challenge the ruling.
Read more about the Sea Life boycott and the Sea Lies campaign in the UK.
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