SeaWorld to Sue Over Orca Restrictions

SeaWorld will pursue legal action against the California Coastal Commission’s left-wing-influenced attempt to eliminate the presence of killer whales at the San Diego park.

A recent vote of the California Coastal Commission approved construction of SeaWorld San Diego’s expansive Blue World orca habitat expansion project. That approval included an amendment that conditions the construction on halting any future killer whale breeding at the California facility as well as prohibiting transfer of other orcas to the park.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. contends that animal welfare does not fall within the commission’s jurisdiction. President and CEO Joel Manby said,

As a regulatory board charged with managing coastal development and related land-use decisions, the Coastal Commission went way beyond its jurisdiction and authority when it banned breeding by killer whales at SeaWorld. By imposing broad new jurisdiction over all future SeaWorld marine animal projects, as well as aquarium projects elsewhere in the state, the Commission has overstepped both federal and California law.

SeaWorld has been developing its Blue World project for years. The new habitat would nearly double the orca tank volumes to a new volume of 10 million gallons.

Manby further said of the Commission’s decision:

It simply defies common sense that a straightforward land-use permit approval would turn into a ban on animal husbandry practices – an area in which the Commissioners have no education, training or expertise. To say that this is a dubious decision with no legal basis is an understatement, which is why we must and will challenge the Commission’s decision.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been trying to shut down SeaWorld for years, with a focus on the orca exhibit. At the unveiling of plans for the Blue World exhibit in January, PETA protesters held signs that read, “A bigger prison is still a prison,” “Boycott Seaworld,” “Seaworld: Don’t Renovate! Release!” and “Seaworld Exposed, Watch Blackfish.”

The release of the movie Blackfish in 2013 sparked negative results for SeaWorld. SeaWorld has produced responses for questions raised in the production on a webpage dedicated to the subject.

Some California legislators have joined in the left-wing efforts to kill SeaWorld operations, sponsoring legislation that would shut down captive breeding a orca shows.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is among organizations that accredit SeaWorld. The AZA states that SeaWorld is “meeting or exceeding the highest standard of animal care and welfare of any zoological organization in the world.”

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