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article image'Blackfish' doc inspires legislation to ban orca shows in Calif.

By Elizabeth Batt     Mar 7, 2014 in Environment
Los Angeles - In another blow for SeaWorld, a state lawmaker introduced new legislation that would ban the use of killer whales during performances in California.
Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, is crediting the documentary Blackfish for the proposal of the new bill called the Orca Welfare & Safety Act.
According to U~T San Diego, the act would aim to, "end the use of performing orcas in theme shows, ban captive breeding and prohibit the import and export of the so-called "killer" whales."
Bloom told U~T that after being driven to act by the documentary Blackfish, there was, "no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes."
The 2013 movie, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, has been a thorn in SeaWorld's side since it first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year. Centered around the 2010 death of exalted SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau, it also profiles the history of Tilikum, the orca who brutally killed her.
Initial public reactions to the documentary were anger-filled. When Blackfish premiered on CNN last October, nearly 21 million people tuned in to watch as Cowperthwaite's movie blackened the eye of corporate SeaWorld. The film inspired a movement called the "Blackfish Effect," which in turn, forced the marine park giant to go on the offensive in an attempt to discredit the documentary and anybody associated with it.
In response to the proposed bill, SeaWorld once again blamed radical extremism for the bill proposal. The park told U~T just moments ago:
The individuals he [Bloom] has chosen to associate with for today's press conference are well known extreme animal rights activists, many of whom regularly campaign against SeaWorld and other accredited marine mammal parks and institutions.
If the bill should pass, SeaWorld San Diego could still show its orcas but it would have to be in a more natural setting. Performances with the killer whales would no longer be allowed.
SeaWorld San Diego facts:
The park was the first SeaWorld to open on March 21, 1964.
San Diego houses ten killer whales. Three wild-caught, with the remaining seven, born in captivity.
Historically, reports, the park has witnessed the deaths of 18 orcas in 43 years, including that of the branded "Shamu."
Sumar was the latest killer whale to die at the park in 2010. He was 12 years old.
According to NOAA Fisheries, in the wild, male orcas, can live as long as 50-60 years, with females orcas living as long as 80-90 years.
J2 or Granny, is a wild Southern Resident Killer Whale currently residing in Puget Sound. She is estimated to be 103 years old.
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