California will no longer allow the breeding of captive killer whales such as those used in SeaWorld’s famous “Shamu” shows under a measure signed on Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.
The move comes months after the embattled entertainment company pledged to stop breeding orcas, or killer whales, in captivity, amid criticism by animal rights groups and negative publicity linked to the documentary film “Blackfish.”
The company pledged last year to replace its signature Shamu killer whale shows in San Diego with modified presentations of the animals that focused on conservation.
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc, which operates marine parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio, has a total of 29 killer whales, including six on loan to a park in Spain. Five of them were captured in the wild, but it has not caught orcas at sea for almost 40 years.
The parks have been criticized for their treatment of the captive marine mammals, with some activists seeking an end to public exhibition of killer whales altogether.
The criticism intensified after three orcas died at SeaWorld San Antonio within a six-month span in 2015.
SeaWorld has also said it will scrap plans for a $100 million project called “Blue World” to enlarge its 7-million-gallon orca habitat at SeaWorld San Diego.
A representative of SeaWorld could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.
After the California legislature passed the bill last month, the company said the measure tracked its March announcement that it would stop breeding orcas in California and end their participation in theatrical shows.
“These presentations will reflect the natural world and will focus on the research, education, care and respect that align with our mission to advance the well-being and conservation of these beautiful creatures,” the company said.
Brown’s decision to sign the bill was welcomed by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which had long lobbied for a ban on breeding orcas in captivity, and opposed the SeaWorld shows.
“Future generations of orcas will not endure the deprivation, stress, and frustration of being trapped in a tiny concrete tank,” PETA vice president Tracy Reiman said in a statement.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Bill Rigby)
We are witnessing the birth of a movement — and the downfall of a president
They almost always begin to right wrongs: illegitimate wars; decades of discrimination on the grounds of gender or racial or sexual identity; killings of innocents by police or gun-toting lunatics; oppression by governments wielding unequal laws; the deeply embedded legacy of centuries of racism.
This article first appeared in Salon.
They are imperfect. Arising out of rage, they can be unfocused, inchoate, contradictory. Protesting violence, they often involve violence. Protesting oppression, they sometimes oppress by destroying public spaces, small businesses, even entire neighborhoods.
COVID-19 research scandal: Unwanted diversion during pandemic
The first research scandal of the coronavirus pandemic has created unnecessary distraction around the politically divisive drug hydroxychloroquine, scientists say, as questions swirl around the tiny health care company at the center of the affair.
On Thursday, most of the authors of major studies that appeared in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) retracted their work and issued apologies, saying they could no longer vouch for their data after the firm that supplied it -- Chicago-based Surgisphere -- refused to be audited.
Marriott ceases Cuban operations after new Trump sanctions
Marriott has been ordered by the US Treasury Department to close its Four Points Sheraton hotel in Havana by the end of August and abandon plans to open others in Cuba, a spokeswoman for the American hotel group told AFP on Friday.
"We entered the Cuban market in 2016, with permission from the US government," the spokeswoman said.
"Our operating license was reviewed and renewed in 2018. We have recently received notice that the government-issued license will not be renewed, forcing Marriott to cease operations in Cuba."
Marriott's entry into the Cuban market came during the administration of US president Barack Obama, a Democrat.