Not long after California State Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced what has been deemed the “Blackfish” bill, a piece of legislation that would ban orca entertainment and performances in California, backlash has already ensued.
SeaWorld, who would be directly affected by the bill, has already released their own statement about the legislation, condemning the “extreme activists” that Bloom is associating with and also asserting that the company follows “responsible” and “sustainable” business practices. (Captivity for profit is responsible and sustainable now? Who knew?)
Even San Diego’s Mayor, Kevin Faulconer, has spoken out against it, stating, “SeaWorld is a critical part of San Diego’s economy. In addition to drawing thousands of tourists to San Diego each year, it is also a leader in maritime and wildlife conservation.”
Sorry? A leader in “maritime and wildlife conservation” – now that’s quite a stretch, don’t you think? These organizations are the real marine conservation leaders — from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Oceanic Preservation Society to Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project and Whale and Dolphin Conservation. But, alas, somehow SeaWorld receives all the credit instead. Sigh.
In addition to Mayor Faulconer, San Diego International Airport also seems to be siding with SeaWorld. Recently, the airport rejected an anti-SeaWorld ad from PETA featuring San Diego native, actress Katy Najimy, who you may know from “Hocus Pocus,” “Sister Act,” and HBO’s “Veep.”
The ad, pictured here, greets tourists with an exclamatory “Welcome to San Diego!” and advises visitors to avoid going to SeaWorld. There is no blood or gore, just a simple statement and Najimy’s photo, yet somehow the airport found fault with the ad, which PETA was willing to place for $17,500.
On Tuesday, PETA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties filed a lawsuit against San Diego Airport for their refusal to run the advertisement.
“The First Amendment stands to protect against this kind of viewpoint discrimination,” said ACLU senior staff attorney Sean Riordan in a press release.
While we must wait to see what the outcome of the lawsuit will be, in the mean time, we can follow Najimy’s advice: “If you want a fun day in San Diego, then take your family to Balboa Park and ride the carousel, see a great play at The Old Globe theater, or get naked at Black’s Beach and hope you see a regal whale in her natural, compassionate, safe home!”
Image source: Oliver Bruchez / Flickr