Debating a comprehensive protection for captive orcas, Washington State Senators held a hearing yesterday discussing a possible ban on the capture and hold of killer whales for entertainment.
While Washington State doesn't actually have facilities holding orcas, approximately 455 orcas in captivity originate in Washington state. The state came under scrutiny after the release of "Blackfish," a documentary that described the controversial capture of orcas.
Even though no cetaceans are actually held in captivity for entertainment or performance in the state, State Senator Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, pleaded that Washington "lead the nation on the question of hemming in these creatures," according to Huffington Post.
Animals activists believe their is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes. While the orcas are too large and intelligent to be confined in small, concrete pens for their entire lives, many said that the practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement is inhumane.
The proposed bill was heard by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Parks, yet the committee recessed without scheduling a vote on the measure.
According to Ranker, there are currently 25 orcas held in captivity in SeaWorlds located in San Diego, Florida and Texas.
While many other aquariums around the world have proved to be just as successful without showcasing captive orcas, will Washington state join India, Croatia, Hungary, Chile and Costa Rica in outlawing cetacean captivity altogether.