Calif. Coastal Commission Protects Orcas by Imposing ALDF’s Suggested Conditions on SeaWorld’s Expansion Plans

Posted on October 8, 2015

Commission Conditions Permit Approval on End of SeaWorld San Diego’s Breeding Program

For immediate release:


Contact: Lindsay Larris, ALDF 310-923-1465

orca-cc-matthew-allen-article-image-230pxLONG BEACH, CA – After vigorous lobbying by a coalition of groups led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the nation’s leading legal advocacy organization for animals, the California Coastal Commission (Commission) voted today to do the right thing for orcas by conditioning SeaWorld’s permit to expand the tanks at its San Diego facility on a strict requirement that the marine park agree not to add additional orcas to the existing inventory. The special permit conditions, proposed by ALDF and a coalition of animal and environmental protection organizations, are necessary to ensure that the existing orcas already held captive in the SeaWorld San Diego tanks get the full benefit of marginally larger tanks. More important, the Commission’s decision means that if SeaWorld decides to move forward with the Blue World expansion project, it will essentially be required to phase out the use of orcas for entertainment acts in San Diego. ALDF applauds the Commission’s decision as the best outcome for the animals under the circumstances.

“SeaWorld’s business is circling the drain as an enlightened public is objecting to the confinement of orcas in bleak bathtubs for the sake of entertainment,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund is pleased that the Commission has acknowledged that captive breeding and the use of orcas for public entertainment has no relationship to legitimate orca conservation. Science overwhelmingly shows that orcas neither thrive nor breed well in captivity. It is cruelty pure and simple to keep large, intelligent, complex and social sea mammals in tiny tanks and force them to entertain consumers whose dollars would be better spent on conservation of orcas in the wild. The Commission’s decision confirms that SeaWorld’s days of breeding and warehousing orcas for entertainment are numbered.”

Securing the permit condition that could end captive breeding at SeaWorld San Diego is the latest victory ALDF has achieved in its extensive legal and legislative efforts to end the exploitation of orcas for entertainment. Following multiple lawsuits filed by ALDF, PETA, Orca Network, and Orca Network director Howard Garrett on behalf of the orca Lolita, who has been held in solitude for more than forty years in a cramped tank at the Miami Seaquarium without protection from the harsh South Florida sun, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) finally announced in February 2015 that the protections of the federal Endangered Species Act would be extended to cover Lolita.

It is ALDF’s position that all captive breeding and use of orcas for entertainment must end, and that captive orcas who are unsuitable for release into the wild should be released to sea pen sanctuaries, where they can live as natural a life as possible.

About ALDF

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, ALDF files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit



37 thoughts on “Calif. Coastal Commission Protects Orcas by Imposing ALDF’s Suggested Conditions on SeaWorld’s Expansion Plans

  1. klara lipton says:

    I love watching wild animals in the WILD,not in a swimming pool. It’s not right.

  2. M. Taylor says:

    This is great news for Orcas! At first I was angered the commission allowed it but their are strict regulations. No more breeding and no more Orcas being moved about. Of course this is a PR stunt for SeaWorld. Let’s see if SeaWorld will go ahead with the 10 million dollar plan knowing they will have to eventually phase out Orcas for entertainment.

    1. judy neeley says:

      this is a small victory-we need to stop breeding in texas and florida too.

  3. J Eckert says:

    Please end captivity of ALL SEA CREATURES!

  4. Anita Lautsch says:

    The conditions placed on SeaWorld’s planned tank expansion is nothing short of a HUGE VICTORY for animal right activists everywhere !!! We will not wait and see if SeaWorld will still go through with the bigger tanks now that it is not allowed to captive breed, or transfer orca in or out of it’s San Diego park.

    1. Anita Lautsch says:

      that should read “We will now wait”…

  5. Charlie Ridge says:

    Thank you so much for standing up for the Orcas!

  6. Jeri Rhea says:

    Congratulations on such a hard fight for the compassionate treatment of or as in captivity. I especially want to focus on large sea pen sanctuaries for or as to give or as the chance for a more humane way to live out their days with a middle ground, so to speak, between captivity and a full release that they likely would not be able to adapt to.

  7. Laura Wilson says:

    It is about time for this to happen. I have never been to sea world because my family knows of the abuse. I am happy to see the whales go home finally now time to shut down Florida’s Sea World.

  8. Jeannie says:

    I applaud ALDF and all who speak for the abused. God bless His creatures great and small. We are all sentient beings

  9. Teresa Wagner says:

    Thank you SO much for all your work to make this happen, and all the other work you do for animals.

    I am so thrilled about the ban on breeding I don’t think I can sleep tonight!

    Bravo to you!

  10. JOANNA WILD says:

    This is good news. Better still ALL cetaceans could find freedom, that is my dream.

  11. Astevia Willett says:

    Thank you for fighting for the orcas. So many people still live with the idea that orcas are fine living in captivity. I do believe that the best medicine for ignorance is knowledge, but some people refuse to take this advice. It is easier to turn their heads the opposite way so they can continue watching the entertainment.

  12. Mary's Rivera says:

    Much gratitude for your unwaivering commitment to the animals. We are truly grateful. Best regards.

  13. Carole Boundy says:

    Go and see these cetaceans in their natural environment!! So it’s a bit bigger tank,what difference will it make to the orcas,they still can’t swim for miles with their families. All about Greed And Money!! Nothing changes !!

  14. maria quann says:

    Thank you for helping these animals keep up the great work. BRAVO!

  15. Marien castrillon says:

    Orcas deserve to live a free life

  16. Shawn says:

    Thank you ALDF and all the others involved for speaking up on behalf of these beautiful orcas suffering in captivity. Thanks to the California Coastal Commission for listening to the people and doing the right thing.

  17. Linda says:

    Thank you for amending this! The year is 2015 not 1800!! Stop the use of animals for greed and entertainment!! Theses mammals need to rejoin their families and swim for miles and breach with happiness in the ocean. Not swim around in circles in a cement tank!

  18. Janet Chapin says:

    This is wonderful news! I understood there were nine conditions. How can I find the full list of conditions?

  19. Barana Ranasen says:

    thank you … No words … Hats off for you. Animals have equal rights. This is their planet, they are just sharing it with us, but we are trying to own it by force. Such a shame. Huge thank you for your outstanding work all the way from Sri Lanka.

  20. Amy says:

    I am estatic with the decision to stop breeding orcas. It was unethical on so many levels. A giant leap forward towards a kinder world and yet many hurdles still remain. Prayers for all the whales and dolphins forced to act like circus performers. May the days of this sick, greedy form of entertainment be numbered.

  21. Robyn bandinel says:

    Awesome freedom from cages and pool and anything that keeps them from being the free natural mammals they were meant to be!

  22. catherine chandler says:

    I thought there was only one Orca there. But glad to hear the good news. But I believe that they should be released to their families that are calling for them. Orcas have their own languages to communicate with other Orcas and like fishes they adapt to the ocean. It’s better then swimming in a pool.

  23. Linda Badham says:


  24. Rene Ruston says:

    The most incredible sight to behold are the Orcas in Puget Sound. It is breathtaking to see them in their natural environment. A stark contrast to the pathetic conditions of Sea World.

  25. Beth Reisberg says:

    Thank you for being such a wonderful group that helps animals.

  26. stephen Sorrentino says:

    Thank you guys and gals at ALDF for all the amazing work that you do!!

  27. Lani says:

    I was at the hearing in Long Beach yesterday and had the opportunity to voice my support for the orcas. What a glorious conclusion to the hearing in the evening after a very long day of effort by all of us.

    1. nancy harris says:

      Lani, I was there too and had to leave a little early.I was wondering if anything was mentioned if Seaworld chooses to NOT move forward with Blue Water will they be allowed to continue captive breeding?

  28. Sharon Jacobs-Salinas says:

    A blessed VICTORY FOR ORCAS thanks to ALDF! I’ve never been to SeaWorld because it’s heartbreaking to see these tremendous, beautiful animals in tiny pens. Knowing these highly social animals, both Orcas and Dolphins, were torn from their pods and vast oceans by places like SeaWorld to be isolated in ‘bathtubs’ [to them] for human ‘entertainment’ and ‘greed’. I find nothing entertaining in the suffering of animals. Hopefully, one day, SeaWorld will become a vast medical facility for injured and sick animals of the oceans; helping them, not exploiting them.

  29. Margie DeCicco says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I commend ALDF on a job well done.

  30. nancy harris says:


  31. Marilyn says:

    I am still waiting for the Orcas to be freed!
    Whatever Orcas are there now, are living in a Fishbowl !!.
    Are those Asses at the commission that Heartless!!!?

  32. Evelyn says:

    Thank you for standing up for these wonderful beings

  33. Andrea says:

    I love Oracas they are my favorite

  34. Heidi Boehm says:

    If human beings on God’s given planet can stop the suffering of animals around the world THEN we have truly evolved!!!!

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