Say goodbye to Shamu – at least in California.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed The Orca Protection and Safety Act on September 15, 2016. That means that effective immediately, orca breeding is illegal in the state of California – and by proxy, so are shows featuring captive orcas.
SeaWorld had already agreed to discontinue the breeding of orcas in their facilities across the U.S after facing harsh criticism recently. This new law is designed to ensure that SeaWorld (or any other California park) would face legal ramifications should they fail to uphold their end of that bargain.
SeaWorld San Diego still has 11 orcas still in captivity, all of which would be allowed to remain; they’ve known nothing else for their entire lives. The law will also allow for orcas to be rescued and rehabilitated if they are found stranded.
California is not the only state that has passed a legislation of this kind. South Carolina prohibits the public display of whales and dolphins, though they don’t have any in captivity anyway. In recent years, several states without marine life shows have passed laws preventing their development.
For those of us that grew up with family trips to SeaWorld, it appears to be the end of an age. Still, it’s a small price to pay for the well-being of an animal.