Orcas in Captivity

California may soon lead the way for orcas.

California is taking the lead the way for freeing captive orcas.

The Orca Welfare and Safety Act (AB 21240) that was before the California Assembly is now awaiting study. The bill would make it illegal to hold in captivity or use wild or captive-bred orcas for performance or entertainment purposes.

For marine life, especially orcas, the ocean is their habitat. Capturing them and putting them into an oversized swimming pool for our entertainment is putting their physical and psychological lives at risk. For instance, when confined to a tank, these sea mammals develop stereotypies. With little space and no stimulation, they can be seen swimming in static patterns around their fish bowl for hours at a time. They also develop skin problems from living in heavily chlorinated water and suffer from ulcers and pneumonia as well as self-inflicted injuries.

Orcas are highly social and form complex societies headed by females. The average lifespan for a female orca is 50 years and a male 30 in the wild. In captivity, they rarely live beyond 20 years. In addition, in the wild, they can travel up to 100 miles daily. There has been enough documentation of the extreme lives orcas live in captivity and none of it supports continuing the practice.

California residents, please contact your legislators and urge them to support this bill.

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