On April 8th, at the California legislature, the Orca Welfare and Safety Act went before the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee. Passage of the bill would require the phasing out of captive breeding of orcas and their continued use for entertainment purposes.
After hearing testimony from scientists and advocates for the orcas, including from Dr. Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute and Dr. Deborah Giles of University of California, Davis, and then from SeaWorld officials and lobbyists, the committee requested an interim study and undertook to revisit the bill in 2015.
The Kimmela Center worked with Dr. Rose to craft a Scientist Statement that was presented in support of the bill and signed by 35 prominent members of the marine mammal scientific community.
Kimmela will continue to work over the next year to strengthen scientific support for the bill, including bringing to bear scientific peer-reviewed papers and more marine mammal experts.
By the time the bill goes before the committee again next year, and having heard the arguments of the SeaWorld lobby, we are confident that we can make a very strong case, and one that will gather the support of large numbers of California voters.