An orca show bill aimed at ending killer whale shows at Sea World in San Diego was put on hold this week, but animal rights groups have vowed to continue the fight against what they see as animal abuse.
The bill, which aimed to end orca shows and ultimately phase out their captivity, was tabled by its author, Democrat Richard Bloom of Santa Monica. He had agreed to allow some time for further study, meaning the orca show bill is gone at least for the near future.
After the action, Bloom blamed the bill’s critics for slandering it.
“It’s unfortunate that much of the conversation has been fueled… by fear and invective and misinformation,” Bloom said. “It’s clear that many committee members are simply unprepared to make a decision on the bill.”
Bloom said he was inspired by the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which highlighted the mistreatment of orcas in captivity. The documentary showed that these animals can become aggressive when in captivity, and focused on the 2010 death of a trainer at Sea World in Orlando when a killer whale pulled her underwater.
The committee hearing on Tuesday to discuss the bill drew dozens of animal rights activists, many of whom were disappointed at the outcome. Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist working with the Animal Welfare Institute, said she is upset the bill was tabled but believes evidence will ultimately show that orcas are unfit for captivity.
“Nobody likes to wait, but I’ve been doing this for over 20 years,” said Rose, who sponsored the bill. “I’m playing the long game.”
The advocacy group Sum of Us also joined the fight, creating an online petition supporting the orca show bill and also taking aim at SeaWorld.
“SeaWorld is already mounting a vicious campaign to defeat this assemblyman’s brave move,” the group declared
The earliest the orca show bill could return is next year.