Finally California’s Governor Jerry Brown has signed on the line to put an end to SeaWorld’s inhumane orca breeding and performance programmes.
Brown, who is California’s longest-serving governor, has outlawed the right to breed orcas in captivity in California and those who break the law can be fined up to $100,000, the Independent reports.
However, in a loophole that could be worryingly exploited, the bill makes exceptions for educational institutions who intend to research the animals.
A newborn killer whale was born at California’s San Diego theme park in 2004:
In a statement this March, SeaWorld vowed to end its breeding programs and entertainment performances in favour of educational endeavors.
SeaWorld said the remaining whales, including a pregnant whale, Takara, will live out the rest of their lives under the care of their veterinary staff as captive whales are unlikely to survive in the ocean.
California is home to SeaWorld’s original park in San Diego, but the company has two other branches in Orlando and San Antonio, where this ban does not apply.
Since the eye-opening documentary Blackfish was released in 2013, Seaworld’s visitor numbers have plunged as well as their shares dropping by 62 per cent.
Hopefully this will be the last generation of orcas in captivity and the San Diego branch’s 2019 display will not include any killer whales.