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California bill would ban orca shows at SeaWorld

Capture

CALIFORNIA – A California state legislator is proposing to ban the captivity of killer whales for entertainment at SeaWorld in the wake of CNN’s controversial documentary “Blackfish.”

“It is time that we embrace that the long-accepted practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement must end,” state Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica, said at a press conference Friday at the city’s oceanfront pier.

Bloom was joined by “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, two former SeaWorld orca trainers and an animal welfare activist.

“This is about greed and this is about corporate exploitation, both of the whales and the trainers, but most importantly the whales,” said John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld orca trainer who resigned in August 2012.

A Bloom statement described the proposal as “landmark legislation calling for comprehensive improvement to orca protection laws in California.”

Currently, there are no laws prohibiting the captive display of orcas, but there are federal laws governing the care, capture and research use of the killer whales, Bloom said.