California Bans Orca Captivity and Breeding

Last month, the California State Assembly overwhelmingly approved a bill to ban captive orca performances and breeding programs and Tuesday California Govenor, Jerry Brown, signed the bill into law. This historic legislation is in stark contrast to the situation in Arizona where dolphins from California were recently shipped to become the main attraction at Dolphinaris, a dolphin swim-with program set to open next month in Scottsdale.

“The passage of the Orca Protection Act in California is a hugely important step forward in ending captivity for orcas in California, following SeaWorld’s announcement in March that they were ending their orca breeding program.  SeaWorld and legislators are starting to listen to the growing public opposition of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, and are taking actions to end the cruel practice.” Said Colleen Weiler, WDC’s Jessica Rekos Orca Fellow.  “However, while these recent steps focus on orcas – the largest and most well known whales held in captivity – hundreds of other whales and dolphins languish in tanks, awaiting the same type of action.”

As temperatures in Scottsdale soar to near 100F, Arizona’s 3TV news reported that five of the expected 12 bottlenose dolphins arrived in Arizona where they are being held in an artificially chilled pool to combat the desert heat.  WDC launched its “Pledge Never to Plunge” campaign earlier this year asking the public not support captive swim with dolphins programs because the stress of confinement often results in dolphins exhibiting behavioral abnormalities, illness, lowered resistance to disease, and death. 

Weiler went on to say, “the California Orca Protection Act is historic and monumental, and we are thrilled to see it signed into law, but it doesn’t mean the fight is over.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us to end captivity for all whales and dolphins including those that have just been shipped to Arizona.”

Find out more information about WDC’s Pledge Never to Plunge Campaign.


SeaWorld marine park
SeaWorld marine park