State With No Captive Whales And Dolphins Moves To Ban Captive Whales And Dolphins
Democrats in the Washington State Legislature introduced a bill that would ban putting dolphins, whales and porpoises on display in aquariums, even though the state currently does not have any dolphins or whales in captivity.
Violating the law could land you with 6-month jail sentence and a $100,000 fine. Opponents are calling the move overreach by misguided activists who are targeting aquariums across the country.
“The truth is, those who oppose the private sector economy and consumer choice will find villains regardless of the facts,” Jeff Stier, head of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Risk Analysis Division, said in a statement.
Democratic state Senators Kevin Ranker and Christine Rolfes are pushing the bill, which had a public hearing Thursday. Ranker told King 5 News that he knows there are currently no dolphins, whales, or porpoises in the state’s aquariums but wants to ban it anyway.
“These are incredibly intelligent species that live in a family structure similar to our own,” he said. “It’s really sad to look at the situation of what happens to these animals when they are in captivity.”
According to the bill, even if the animal was bred in captivity and would die in the wild, the owners must keep it in a sea pen and not use it for entertainment purposes.
The bill would also outlaw capturing the animals and breeding them in captivity.
There are exceptions in the bill for groups researching or caring for the animals’ health, but the language clearly states they “may not use the cetacean for performance or entertainment purposes.”
This anti-aquarium movement is targeting legislatures across the country largely fueled by public outrage over the recent “Blackfish” documentary, which claimed that killer whales are poorly treated and dangerous to trainers. The documentary received a scathing response from SeaWorld, which went to great lengths to discredit the film.
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom of California proposed legislation last year that would ban the use of orcas in shows like SeaWorld’s. Republican New York State Sen. Greg Ball introduced a similar bill that would ban holding killer whales in aquariums and sea parks, an effort tarnished by reports that the Senator plagiarized a teen’s blog in the bill.
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