SeaWorld: New Bill May Ban Orca Shows After Shocking ‘Blackfish’ Documentary

Fri, March 7, 2014 1:45pm EDT by 16 Comments
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There’s been outrage all over the world ever since CNN premiered their 2013 film ‘Blackfish’ which gave viewers an inside look into the inhumane treatment of orcas at SeaWorld. The moving film has now inspired California assemblyman, Richard Bloom, to propose a bill banning orca shows from theme parks. HollywoodLifers, what do you think?

Baby orcas are ripped from their mother’s sides in the ocean, and then held captive in small bathtubs, while they cry. This is just one of the disturbing scenes in CNN’s Blackfish, which enraged Santa Monica Assemblyman, Richard Bloom, who proposed a bill on March 7, protecting orcas in California. Bloom’s bill will ban orcas from performing in shows, ban captive breeding and prohibit the import and also the export of ‘killer’ whales.

Seaworld — Bill May Ban Orca Shows After ‘Blackfish’

The film, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, and later aired on CNN, has sparked an international outrage. The film focused on the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by SeaWorld orca, Tilikum. But the countless interviews by former SeaWorld employees who worked during that time reveal that it wasn’t just an orca acting out of instinct, this was an animal that had been held for years in deplorable conditions at SeaWorld.

HollywoodLife.com spoke with PETA who told us the following:

In the 21st century, it’s time to recognize that the orcas and dolphins held captive at SeaWorld do not belong there at all. Their containment in pitiful swimming pools instead of great oceans and in isolation instead of pods condemns our own race’s greed and obliviousness. At SeaWorld and other animal abusement parks, these once-magnificent beings are separated from their families—including babies who are torn from their mothers’ sides—and can swim only in endless circles between concrete walls, the constant stress of confinement driving them to lash out violently in frustration at each other and their human captors. PETA and kind people around the world have called on SeaWorld to retire these deprived orcas to a seaside sanctuary, but the park continues to defend its overt cruelty. This bill has the potential to end the deep injustice of exhibitions of captive marine life.

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“There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes,” Assemblyman Richard said. “These beautiful creatures are much too large and far too intelligent to be confined in small, concrete tanks for their entire lives.”.

This bill, although prohibiting orcas from being a part of shows, would still allow parks to put the whales on exhibit in aquarium-like settings. This bill would apply to parks only in California and hopefully other states would follow in the state’s footsteps.

SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz released a statement which clearly indicates where the theme park stands on the proposed bill.

“While we cannot comment on Assemblyman Bloom’s proposed legislation until we see it, the individuals he has chosen to associate with for today’s press conference are well-known extreme animal rights activists, many of whom regularly campaign against SeaWorld.”

David added that the new claims against the park could just be another in a long line of publicity stuns that PETA routinely engages in to bring bad press to respected institution like SeaWorld.

“Included in the group are some of the same activists that partnered with PETA in bringing the meritless claim that animals in human care should be considered slaves under the 13th amendment of the US Constitution – a clear publicity stunt.  This legislation appears to reflect the same sort of out-of-the-mainstream thinking.”

More People Speak Out About SeaWorld Practices

But despite the immense amount of money SeaWorld makes, $9.6 million a year, in San Diego alone, it sounds like Richard isn’t the only one who feels this bill must be passed.

“SeaWorld’s reputation of treating its workers poorly dates back to its opening 50 years ago,” California assemblywoman, Lorena Gonzalez, who represents San Diego said. “It’s about time we continue this conversation about job quality and workplace safety at SeaWorld — whether it involves groundskeepers, concession workers or killer whale trainers. Recent evidence suggests its record with orcas isn’t much better. I’m looking forward to having an honest conversation about SeaWorld’s business practices and how they can really be an icon that makes San Diego proud.”

SeaWorld feels that Blackfish was a “manipulated” version of what happens at their parks. In a statement released by SeaWorld they say the film: “employs false and emotionally manipulative sequences. Relies on former SeaWorld employees, most of whom have little experience with killer whales and others who haven’t worked at SeaWorld in nearly 20 years. Relies on animal rights activists masquerading as scientists.”

HollywoodLifers, watch the film on Netflix or an On Demand service, and form your own opinions!

— Chloe Melas

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