Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

New Bill could end keeping orcas in captivity in California

Posted: 11 March 2014. Updated: 10 April 2014


UPDATE: Sadly the Bill has been postponed until 2015, as decided during its hearing on April 8, 2014 by the California State Assembly’s Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife. ADI will post updates on the Bill as soon as they become known.

On March 7, 2014, California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D–Santa Monica) introduced Bill AB 2140, the California Captive Orca Welfare and Safety Act. If passed the Bill would end captive orca shows at SeaWorld and other establishments within the state. According to the Bill, there are currently ten captive orcas in California, three of whom were captured from the wild.

Outlining the case for a ban, Assemblyman Bloom says “As a state we should lead the way in ending captivity for entertainment purposes ... Many scientists agree holding orcas captive have no conservation benefits for orcas in the wild … If we truly want to help the orca we should focus our efforts on restoring habitat in the wild and protecting our oceans. … Orcas simply do not belong in captivity.”

If passed, the Bill would:

  • End performance based entertainment for all orcas in California
  • End captive breeding programs and the export and import of genetic materials
  • End the import and export of Orcas into and out of the state
  • Require that all current captive orcas be retired to sea pens if available
  • Allow for retired orcas to be on display but not perform
  • Limit the amount of human interaction for trainer safety

In the wild, orcas live in large, complex family groups, roaming around 125 miles/200 kms a day, hunting, playing and interacting with their own species. As people become more aware of the psychological and physical suffering orcas endure in captivity, support for keeping them in captivity declines. A 2012 survey conducted by WDC, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Animal Welfare Institute found that only 1 in 4 people is now in favor of the practice.

Take Action!

  • If you live in California, please contact your State Assembly member and urge them to support AB 2140. Click here to find your State Assembly member.
  • Avoid establishments which display orcas and other cetaceans and encourage friends and family to do the same

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