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Since the release of Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary Blackfish in 2013, the way that the world views orcas has undergone an amazing transformation. The documentary revealed the story of the late Tilikum, an orca who was responsible for the death of three humans while being held captive at SeaWorld, and it sparked conversations that many people had never had before. All across the United States, people began asking if creatures as highly intelligent and sentient as orcas truly belonged in captivity, where they are often forced to perform before an audience. As a result of the changing public opinions, not only has SeaWorld seen a steady decline in ticket sales, they have also made enormous changes, such as agreeing to end the captive breeding of orcas in all of its parks. Recently, SeaWorld San Diego officially ended their orca shows. There is no denying that these are huge victories for orcas, but there is still a long road ahead of us if we are to ensure a future for wild orcas.

Recently, United States Congressman Rick Larsen of Washington announced his cosponsorship of the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA). This groundbreaking act would put a permanent end to orca captivity and breeding in the U.S., the capture of wild orcas, and ban the import and export of orcas for the purpose of public display. According to Larsen, “orcas are an iconic and beloved part of Pacific Northwest culture. Passing the ORCA Act will ensure future generations of orcas stay where they belong: in the wild, not in captivity.”

We could not agree more. Captivity is no place for any animal, let alone orcas, who are one of the most intelligent, emotionally complex, and socially sophisticated creatures on this planet. Orca brains are four times larger than human brains and comparatively, the brain lobe that handles the processing of complex emotions is larger in orcas than it is in humans. Orcas in captivity, like Tilikum, have been known to suffer from zoochosis, a mental illness common in captive animals that is identified by pacing, stereotypic behaviors, self-harm, and violent tendencies towards others, including other orcas. SeaWorld has been fighting a losing battle since people began to question the ethics behind keeping orcas in captivity but should an act like ORCA pass, we can ensure a better future for all orcas, wild and captive. Way to go Congressman Larsen!

Image source: Monika Wieland/Shutterstock

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0 comments on “Congressman Backs Groundbreaking Bill to End Orca Captivity in the U.S.”

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The Doctor
2 Months Ago

Get your facts straight. Tilikum was not present at three fatalities at Seaworld because there were only two. Dawn, and the homeless man who trespassed and entered Tilikums space.


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Kate-Lyn Jones
2 Months Ago

Guy\'s watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuzEIFj_qtI&t=0s
This man just came up with an idea that would be a win/win for both animal activists AND the execs at Seaquarium. The proposal is sending Lolita to a sea sanctuary while in return we have another major attraction that would be built at the park either for free or at least have a major discount on building it. We could even let SeaWorld in on it and possibly have them release some of their orcas with a similar deal. We all know that Lolita might not have much longer to live, and I\'d expect the place to close down shortly after her death. So having this deal might be the best option to releasing her. If you can please share this video.
I also found a video on YouTube called "Tilikum Died - SeaWorld Executives EXPOSED: The Killing of Tilikum Blackfish Killer Whale Dies " made by the same guy.
It shows that Joel Many, who came from the general motors Saturn and Saab divisions, has a base pay of $1million, but because SeaWorld is a publicly traded company, made 11.3 MILLION DOLLARS last year!
And it\'s not just him, Jack Roddy the chief of human resources who came from Starbucks, Peter J. Crage the chief financial officer from Extended Stay America (a hotel chain), Anthony Esparza the Chief Creative Officer who came from a design firm and other entertainment parks, are all MILLIONAIRES! All of the corporate executives, who left Tilikum to die in that tank, make the decisions in SeaWorld and all of their other parks! Their not marine biologists, they never were, what they are focused on is making money. So who would you rather believe? Experts who have spent most of their lives studying wild Orcas from birth to death, or just a bunch of people that want to solely make money from animal abuse and probably know next to NOTHING about these animals?
Please share Bright Insights videos, more people need to know about this.


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Angel Pheonix
2 Months Ago

Ok folks lets FREE ALL ANIMALS from captivity!! I agree it is a horrible practice. Let\'s put them back in the wild in their natural habitat so they can run free and live their lives with out a care in the world other than being what they are suppose to be....
Oh wait, there might be a problem with that since most animals natural habitats are being destroyed daily by man in the name of progress and the search for oil. In 100 years time our great great grand children will be asking what a florida panther looked like or sea turtles. and most probably orcas. While people who are running their mouths that have no clue what they are talking about here in Florida 82 false killer whales died in the everglades trying to get on land to get away from something in the ocean and over 350,000 dead fish died in the Indian river lagoon last year and no one knows why.
Everybody forgets that SeaWorld was the ones to keep man from going too far hurting the creatures in our oceans until Gabriela Cowperthwaite bought tickets for her family, made the trip to orlando, had an amazing day of wonder with her children over creatures they never would have normally been able to experience otherwise. Then the end of the day tragedy struck, we lost an amazing ray of sunshine, horrifically. Most people were in shock, in mourning, but not Gabriela Cowperthwaite she decided I am going to make a name for myself, make money, with no thought to Dawn\'s family, or the animals that Seaworld was created to help.
So in the future when these animals are extinct because we were not able to conserve and breed to keep a species live on I want every one to give thanks to Gabriela Cowperthwaite and her greed to personally prosper over a tragedy and twist facts destroy whole species with a stroke of a pen.


Reply
Pamela Sandels
2 Months Ago

I thank this man for caring enough, and wish more congressmen would follow!


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