SeaWorld lost permission to breed orcas in captivity, a decision took by the California Coastal Commission on October 8th.
The decision of the California Coastal Commission sparked a wave of controversy, with supporters of both sides arguing about the fairness of the act. To add fuel to the fire, Sand Diego-based SeaWorld has the permission to develop its orca tank project, estimated to be completed in 2018.
The theme park and marine wildlife exhibit space has been at the center of attacks in the past. SeaWorld faced accusations concerning the treatment of orcas and other marine wildlife it holds in captivity. However, it retaliated by explaining that few of the animals have been bred in captivity, the majority being saved from certain death when they were brought to SeaWorld.
Now, the tank projected to be completed in 2018 is expected to host 11 orcas. While SeaWorld lost permission to breed orcas in captivity, the decision could be legally challenged.
John Reilly, working with SeaWorld San Diego, stated:
“We are disappointed with the conditions that the California Coastal Commission placed on their approval of the Blue World Project, and will carefully review and consider our options.”
Mr. Reilly added that the decision to prohibit the breeding of orcas in captivity under the auspices of SeaWorld is a sign of cruelty towards the marine animals. Breeding, according to his statement, is a natural part of any animal’s life, particularly a social one as the orca. Taking away this right is nothing short of inhumane. Animal rights activist groups on the other hand applauded the decision.
According to the Los Angeles Times publication, legal representatives of SeaWorld and those of the California Coastal Commission have been engaging in a heated debate over the Animal Welfare Act, enacted in 1966. It remains unclear whether this legislative piece overseeing animal welfare at the federal level empowers the Commission to manage orcas being held in captivity at SeaWorld San Diego.
If SeaWorld decides to take the matter to court, the decision of the Commission would be put on hold until the issue is decided upon. So far, there have been no declarations of intent coming from SeaWorld, although they are highly anticipated.
The Blue World Project envisions the expansion of the current tank where orcas are being held to almost double in volume and size. Currently, the tank is a 5.8 million-gallons one. The 100 million dollars development project would expand it to a 9.8 million-gallons tank, benefiting the orcas living here.
Photo Credits: Pixabay