Bill seeks to ban orca shows at SeaWorld San Diego

Last updated 13:02 08/03/2014

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A California state legislator is introducing a bill that would prohibit orca shows at SeaWorld in San Diego.

The bill by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica, would make it illegal to use orcas "for performance or entertainment purposes." It would also ban captive breeding done at SeaWorld of orcas, also known as killer whales.

The bill is supported by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and is prompted by the documentary "Blackfish," which was highly critical of the use of orcas at SeaWorld parks and centred on the death of a trainer at the park in Orlando, Florida.

As state legislation, the bill would only apply to the San Diego park, the only park in the state with orca shows.

"These beautiful creatures are much too large and intelligent to be confined in small, concrete pens for their entire lives," Bloom said in a statement.

In a statement issued by SeaWorld, the park said the bill appears "to reflect the same sort of out-of-the-mainstream thinking" of activists who went to court in San Diego in an unsuccessful bid to have the orcas declared slaves under the US Constitution's 13th Amendment.

SeaWorld is "one of the world's most respected zoological institutions (and) already operates under multiple federal, state and local animal welfare laws," the statement said.

The bill will most likely be opposed by some legislators and other officials with districts in San Diego, where SeaWorld is a major tourist attraction and economic driver for the region's economy.

SeaWorld is in the district of Democratic Assemblywoman Toni Atkins.

Bloom, a former mayor of Santa Monica, is in his first term representing a district that includes much of West Los Angeles and Hollywood.

-MCT

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