California Lawmaker Proposes Legislation Banning Captivity of Orcas for Entertainment Purposes


Legislation banning the captivity of orcas for entertainment is being introduced in California by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Take Part reports:

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D–Santa Monica, will introduce Friday the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, which would make it illegal to “hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes.” The bill would also ban artificial insemination of captive killer whales in California and block the import of orcas or orca semen from other states.

Violators would face a fine up to $100,000 and/or six months in a county jail.

“There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes,” Bloom declared in a written statement prior to a press conference to be held at the Santa Monica Pier. “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.”

Sea World released a statement:

“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 and other accredited marine mammal parks and institutions.

“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 U.S. Constitution – a clear publicity stunt. This legislation appears to reflect the same sort of out-of-the-mainstream thinking.

“SeaWorld, one of the world’s most respected zoological institutions, already operates under multiple federal, state and local animal welfare laws.

“In addition to being one of the most respected members of the business community, SeaWorld also is a global leader in the zoological and animal welfare world. We are deeply committed to the health and well-being of all of our animals and killer whales are no exception.

“Our passionate employees are the true animal advocates – the pioneering scientists, researchers, veterinarians, trainers, marine biologists, educators, aquarists, aviculturists and conservationists who for 50 years have cared for the animals at SeaWorld and also saved thousands in the wild that are injured, ill or orphaned.

“We engage in business practices that are responsible, sustainable and reflective of the balanced values all Americans share.”

The legislation was spurred by the documentary Blackfish, according to USA Today.


  1. tinkerbelle says

    “SeaWorld also is a global leader in the zoological and animal welfare world.”

    If they were so DEEPLY committed to the welfare of their animals, these “organisations” wouldn’t exist in the first place. This legislation should not be restricted to only orcas.

    I’m always against fascism for animals.

  2. Mikey says

    I have a friend who worked at seaworld and is completely in favor of this. The stories of mistreatment toward the animals she tells is horrific and anyone with compassion for just plain science would understand why seaworld is wrong

  3. Canadian Observer says

    I hope he is successful in this – I had the misfortune of seeing the orcas kept captive at “Marineland” in southern Ontario… it was obvious to me that keeping them in the tanks they were confined to was pretty much the same as locking a human into a small bathroom for the rest of their life. I am hardly a radical “animal rights activist” – I am quite comfortable eating meat, don’t really object to fur trapping (I have some qualms about it, but not enough to ban the practice entirely). But when it comes to keeping cetaceans in captivity I draw the line. Their clearly demonstrated intelligence coupled with their almost nomadic behaviour in the wild makes keeping them in captivity much crueler than anything I am willing to accept. If people want to see them, get onto an inflatable boat and go whale watching, don’t keep them penned for your amusement. As for any “educational” function marine parks provide… I already have access to National Geographic channel and Animal Planet on television….

  4. Two Dads says

    I was indifferent to the issue until a neighbor recently explained to me how her daughter really wanted to go to ones of these parks to observe the whales and orcas. She told her daughter “we can go whale watching in Dana Point where you get an educational and entertaining experience with the animals in their natural habitat, seeing orcas dancing is neither educational or entertaining and it won’t serve you learning about reality”

    Loved that.

  5. Niles says

    The tanks are soooooo small for these massive animals who are wild animals and are NOT meant to be in captivity. It’s so creepy how anyone could go to sea-world and actually sit and enjoy a show.

  6. Voojay says

    Ask yourself this: how would you feel being forced to perform dance routines and tricks for screaming kids for 14 hours a day for the rest of your life in captivity?

  7. Felix says

    Recently watched “Black Fish” on Netflix. There’s no way anyone can watch this and don’t think there’s something seriosly wrong with this “entertainment” industry.

  8. Rich says

    It should be illegal to hold Orcas in captivity anywhere. Imagine being an intelligent animal capable of roaming the oceans of the world and then being confined to a small cage. The film Blackfish was heartbreaking. It was also outrageous that Seaworld lied to its employees and put them at risk.

  9. Gio says

    Can you imagine if animals harmed, attacked, and enslaved humans at the frequency we do them and do so with pride? These are beautiful creatures with conscience. Humans have really convinced themselves that this planet strictly belongs to us and we can do WHATEVER we wish with it. Don’t go crying when mother nature tells us she’s in charge.

  10. SpaceCadet says

    Goodbye SeaWorld! I’ve never been to their parks but I can be satisfied just knowing they are not in captivity or going whale watching. And humans have been disgusting with animals even in modern times. There’s the recent video circulating online of the young rhino in Africa that had been wandering around in agony for at least several days with it’s horn ripped out and a bullet in its brain before it was put out of its misery.

  11. GregV says

    I have a friend who is a cetaceans expert and he believes they are not just intelligent “for animals” but that they are actually more intelligent than humans.
    They obviously don’t have the same bodies we do and so would not be able to (or need to) manipulate the kinds of objects we use, but that doesn’t mean they don’t think logically, feel compassion, or even communicate a depth of ideas in languages that human languages may not even be capable of matching.

  12. Reality-LiveIt says

    Sea World is a leader in the world regarding the care and well being of Ocean life. I swim in the Ocean every day and on several occasions I have witnessed them picking up sick sea life most recently the hundreds of baby sea lions that came to shore this past year. It is good to call attention to things that could be done better, but, making laws to ban the Orca’s is an over reach. Stop trying to control everyone and everything. Start trying to do good in the world like Sea World does. Maybe get out and do something to help out like they do! Blooming idiot that what I think of this Assemblyman.

  13. J.J says

    Reality live it works for sea world. Sea world has publicists (whom the paid upward a million dollars) to troll EVERY single blog they are mentioned in and post pro sea world rebuttals. Do you see his “sea world goes in the ocean and saves hurt creatures” rant? I can literally find a dozensites where that same exact comment was made nearly word for word by someone who posted as another name. Their public relations firm is working over time

  14. Lee says

    Get a life hippie orcas are animals no different than dogs or cats and we have the right to have them in zoo just like every other animal as long as the zoo is up to code they are legal deal with it.

  15. Vincent says

    I value the life of a dog and cat and most animals more so than soulless humans like you. In fact, YOU are taking up space on this planet and contribute far less than a loyal loving dog.

  16. Junior says

    Lee, animal abusers (yes, I call people willingly and eagerly defending cruelty to animals as animal abusers) like you say animal lovers as though it’s a bad thing.

    Sorry you didn’t get much attention and love growing up and it’s resulted in you being resentful of ANIMALS. Lol how pathetic.

  17. JJ says

    @REALITY-LIVEIT, they’re also a leader in cruelty to animals. Doing good and doing harm are not mutually exclusive. The important thing is that doing good doesn’t buy you some moral right to do harm.

  18. VA Pal says

    You don’t have to be an animal rights activist to feel empathy and sympathy for a living creature in distress. I eat meat, yet care about the welfare of animals being treated humanely. How? well, many farmers that are local give their animals an amazing life up until their death, even during death, treating them humanely. It’s not an all or nothing. It’s called logic and middle ground where you can decipher right from wrong and what’s occurring in seaworld is wrong.

  19. Concord says


    You don’t have a RIGHT to anything. You don’t have a RIGHT to take a frightened baby orca and steal it from it’s mother and family from the ocean as a baby and then force it to do ridiculous tricks for your BRATTY child who you refuse to parent in a responsible manner. You don’t have a right to everything you claim. Get that chip off your shoulder.

  20. Dexter says

    How can seaworld be a leading respected zoological institution when MANY former employees are on record as stating the animal were mistreated and exhausted daily?

  21. calpoidog says

    I would go for all marine mammals. And people, PLEASE stop patronizing hotels and other places where you can “swim with the dolphins.”

  22. Lee says

    You hippie can eat a d@ick I loved sea world as a kid and still love it fact is we are the dominate species until the orcas can shot a gun they are at our mercy and I’d much rather they be kept in tanks and left for te japs to slaughter.

  23. empathy matters says

    What about SeaWorld’s owners’ sincerely held religious beliefs?!?!?

    Yes, this has been tolerated for way too long.

    The famous San Diego Zoo and the National Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri, among other places — where you can see animals engaging in crazy stereotypies because of their extremely confined and unnatural existence — are very questionable places as well.

  24. anon says

    Sea World basically exists because normal aquariums were a bit boring, and the old seal trainer circus stuff was getting old. You need animals smart enough to train and safe enough to let kids pet them. It’s always a mixed bag, particularly when money gets tight as with Free Willie. However, animal rights activists want to ban all zoos, use of fur and leather and meat consumption minimized. There were no protests the other day here about the polar bear cub, so what’s the difference? Basically, the same reforms zoos needed thirty years ago are what Sea World needs today.

  25. Bill says

    @ JJ: the corporate shilling is worse than you can even imagine. I had a clogged line fixed by Rotorooter and the guy who fixed it asked me if I did reviews on Internet sites. While we never got beyond that as I simply said, “no”, I had the impression that there might be some sort of deal being proposed. That would be a non-starter as it would smack of prostitution, at least according to my personal standards.

    This is not meant as a put-down to actual prostitutes, who IMHO deserve far more respect that someone who would write a favorable review no matter what the facts are in order to receive some pittance, thus helping to mislead others.

  26. fern says

    Anon, there is no legitimate defense of SeaWorld and its imprisonment of Orcas. Otherwise you wouldn’t need to use distraction arguments like you do in your post. you sound like another PR shrill who uses the very tired argument that we should be focusing on a different cause – any cause but the one at hand. Seen this tactic repeatedly used against people trying to bring awareness about the systematic abuse of animals in our society.

  27. Mike says

    I’m totally against mistreatment of animals. BlackFish was an extremely well-done documentary and really opened my eyes to past mistreatment and straight-up lies that have been swept under the rug.

    That being said, I don’t know if you have to make captivity illegal. By all means, make the extremely small pens illegal. Demand some type of open ocean captivity, where the orcas can have space to swim and play and avoid that nasty raking if needed. I’m sure they could come up with some nuanced rules that, at the end of the day, would still allow the display of these creatures in some capacity. But illegal seems extreme, and a lot of children enjoy SeaWorld. Once upon a time, I was (hopefully) a non-obnoxious, curious, interested kid that thought the killer whale show was amazing.

  28. D.R.H. says

    I’m so overwhelmingly in favor of this legislation. Next up, legislation banning elephants, lions, tigers, etc. from being paraded around in the Ringling Bros., or any other circus acts.

    And, Lee, do the world a favor, find a train to jump in front of.

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