Calif. Coastal Commission Protects Orcas by Imposing ALDF’s Suggested Conditions on SeaWorld’s Expansion PlansPosted 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
LONG 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.
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 aldf.org.