Animal rights extremists proposed bill to halt whale shows after release of anti Sea World movie “Blackfish”
In a hearing heavily attended by cheering animal rights protesters, the California Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee has agreed to send Assembly bill 2140 for interim study after its sponsor admitted it “was a work in progress” and “wasn’t ready to move forward.”
Richard Bloom, D, Santa Monica, arranged for a hearing of AB 2140 after angry reaction at Sea World following the release of the documentary “Blackfish.” The movie claims to reveal abuse of Orcas in Sea World’s care and unsafe working conditions for trainers. Sea World has set up a website to defend itself against what it says are the movie’s untruths here.
Committee members and witnesses used the hearing to laud or harangue Sea World depending on their points of view. Davis Democrat, Mariko Yamada, said she’d watched “Blackfish” twice and observed none of the movie’s criticisms of Sea World had actually happened in San Diego under current California law.
Surfer and Huntington Beach Republican Travis Allen claimed Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park helped him appreciate wild life and that “helped me want to take care of animals.”
Former union boss turned San Diego legislator, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, discounted Sea World’s threats to leave town if the bill passed and, channeling her inner Occupy, gave a speech about Sea World failing to pay its employees a “living wage” and pointed out its ownership by “a Wall Street private equity firm.”
The muffled cheers of protesters could be heard outside the hearing room when LA area Assemblyman Anthony Rendon said “if the movie is filled with inaccuracies, it doesn’t matter to me” because he didn’t agree with putting any animals in captivity.
A witness said the bill was written broadly animal rights activists could pummel Sea World with “an unending trail of litigation.”
Questions about specific language, ocean pens for the Orcas and safety issues apparently will be addressed in the interim study. Just who’s doing the studying isn’t known at the moment.