Keep Them Free: Washington State Considers Banning Captured Whales for Entertainment

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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.


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  • There are so many petitions for freeing marine animals, I have 3 myself and have signed many. How can we get all these signatures on one petition to make one heck of a large impact on Congress to change the MMPA law so it no longer allows holding of captive marine animals for public display? SeaWorld has a new commercial. They say they haven’t taken any whales from the ocean for 30 years. Where are they getting their babies from? They force pregnancies through artificial insemination. These babies will never know their true home. If SeaWorld and parks like it could just get their hearts out of their wallets maybe they feel the compassion so many others do. These parks would make perfect resce, heal and RELEASE hospitals. People would love to come to see these animals recovering.

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