With the Santa Monica Pier as his backgdrop, Assemblyman Richard Bloom (Dem-50th District) on Friday morning announced he had introduced legislation that seeks to phase out killer whale, or orca, captivity in California.
The bill, AB 2140, named the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, will end performance-based entertainment and captive breeding programs in California.
The changes sought by the legislation would be the most comprehensive protections laws for orcas in captivity in the United States in over 40 years.
Joining Assemblymember Bloom at the press conference were Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Director of “Blackfish,” the critically acclaimed documentary on orca captivity, Naomi Rose, Ph.D., Marine Mammal Scientist with the Animal Welfare Institute, and two former SeaWorld orca trainers, John Hargrove and Carol Ray.
Bloom said there was 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 tanks for their entire lives,” Bloom said. “It is time to end the practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement.”
Bloom said in their natural habitat, orcas are family-oriented, highly adaptable, socially-complex with cultural traditions and trail only humans as the most intelligent creatures on this planet.
“However, in captivity, they have shorter lifespans, show increased health problems, live in swimming pool sized habitat that are approximately one ten-thousandth the required size and demonstrate aggressive behavior towards one another and towards humans that has never been documented in the wild,” Bloom said. “They simply do not belong in captivity.”
Bloom’s 50th Assembly District comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.