California senator introduces bill to shut down Seaworld

Yvonne O'Halloran

Cetaceans such as whales, dolphins and porpoises are highly intelligent and social creatures. When they are in their natural environment,  they roam vast distances, dive deeply and live in tight-knit family units. Senator Cathleen Glagiani has introduced a bill to ban the captivity of whales and dolphins in California- It’s known as Senate Bill 1405: The Dolphin Protection Act which would make it illegal to hold, breed, or export a cetacean. Currently there is a law protecting orcas (killer whales) from being bred, held in captivity or used for entertainment but her bill would extend this law to protect all cetaceans across the state.

If the bill is passed, marine parks such as Sea World in San Diego would no longer be permitted to keep whales and dolphins on display for entertainment purposes.

According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation Tanks are “generally less than one-ten thousandth’s of one percent” of a cetacean’s natural habitat range. Furthermore, an orca would have to swim around their tank at Seaworld 1,400 times in order to match the distance wild orcas swim in the ocean so they are essentially living in bathtubs.

In the wild, cetaceans are very social animals, spending most of their time with their families so living in isolation in tanks causes them frustration, depression, aggression, self-mutilation & boredom- as experts refer to as ‘zoochosis’. Orcas are known to live to 100 years of age in the wild, but those in captivity have a lifespan of about 14 years.

Founder of Animal Hope in Legislation Marc Ching stated “society’s attitudes about keeping certain animals in captivity has changed, we cannot continue to bring whales and dolphins into captivity where they will spend their entire lives in a concrete tank. California is a leader in animal welfare policy and thanks to Senator Galgiani’s bill, many of these animals will be able to stay where they belong, in the wild.”

If the Dolphin Protection Act become does become law, it would be huge for the state of California. Pushback is to be expected, but no matter the outcome, it’s very encouraging to see that there are people out there with the power to change laws and one day stop this abuse.

 

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