In the past few years, the public image of SeaWorld, and marine parks, in general, has gone from wholesome and fun to cruel and deceptive. After the wildly popular film Blackfish debuted, thousands of people who were once fooled into thinking that marine parks were not only okay but “necessary for conservation,” were exposed to the reality of the matter: marine parks are essentially prisons and the animals in them are losing their minds.

This is not a hyperbole – captive marine animals have given us numerous reasons to believe that they are absolutely miserable. They bang their heads against the walls of their tiny tanks, they bite the gates that lock them in every night, they lash out at gawking guests, and sometimes, they even attempt escape. With this kind of footage surfacing, there’s no denying the suffering that occurs within marine park walls, and people are finally standing up and telling those in power that they are not okay with it. Well, exciting news, Green Monsters! Our efforts have not gone ignored – just this week, California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed legislation that will officially outlaw captive orca breeding programs in California! Marine parks will also be banned from featuring orcas in performance for entertainment purposes. Starting in June 2017, orcas in captivity can only be used for “educational presentations.”

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Now let’s get the obvious over with – this is good news, but not amazing. The orcas currently in California marine parks will remain there, living out their lives on display. Considering that in the wild these animals travel upwards of 100 miles a day, confining them to a tiny tank is incredibly cruel. Still, the passing of this legislation is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. It proves that as consumers, we have the ability to bring about change to the systems we deem broken or inhumane. It signifies the ending of an era, a light at the end of a tunnel, the first steps on a path towards the beautiful day when all orcas will be in the ocean swimming with their families and loved ones and living their lives out in peace.
We will celebrate that actions are finally being carried out to end orca captivity in marine parks but we will not forget that there is much more to be done. SeaWorld is not the only park that holds marine animals in captivity, and there are other animals, like dolphins, that are still forced to perform. However, as this announcement shows, the best thing we can do is to raise awareness to the issues and most importantly, boycott these attractions. California is just one state that has taken this step forward, so now it is up to all the other states that harbor captive marine animals to follow suit.

Together, we can all show SeaWorld and other marine parks that the time has come to #EmptyTheTanks – sign our below and make your voice heard!

Image source: Tinseltown/Shutterstock