Congress: Pass U.S. bill against the capturing of orcas and other cetaceans

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On October 24th, 2018, Canada finally passed the S-203 bill which outlaws the capturing of whales and dolphins, and placing them into captivity. Happy to hear this news, I researched the action that the US is taking with this unheeded issue, and it did not come as a surprise to me when I essentially found nothing beyond outdated petitions and articles only discussing the status of the matter.

However, according to Michigan State University’s animal law info base, it was said in 2010 that, “There are currently no laws in the US prohibiting the housing of orca whales in captivity; rather laws that specifically allow for the capture of wild orcas for purposes of entertainment and scientific research. The United States relies instead on maintaining its captive whale population through breeding programs of whales already living in captivity. While there is no law prohibiting the display of orcas, there are laws that govern those facilities that house them.”

We need to guarantee the protection of these animals, rather than valuing the immoral cooperations that house them. The primary laws governing the facilities housing orca whales are the Animal Welfare Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which only serve to ensure a permit and regulations of the animal and its “environment”. Yet there are still no laws in place to ban the cruel capturing and imprisonment of orcas and other cetaceans in the United States.

Since 1961, SeaWorld has taken in over 156 orcas into captivity, and of those 156 whales, 129 of them have died in the span of 58 years. In the wild, however, orcas have a life expectancy of about 50 to 90 years old, while most of these SeaWorld orcas only live to see about 15 or 25 years old, if that. As of right now, SeaWorld continues to hold over 21 orcas in their three parks in the United States, and while each of the parks have said to discontinue the orca performances, these animals are still being held in concrete tanks each day for hours at a time, driving them to the point of insanity.

Though over the last few years, SeaWorld have responded to the backlash of their controversial reputation, they have only made minuscule improvements in a problem that is larger than they know. If the capturing of cetaceans continues, the species will only become more endangered and the orca population, as we know it, will ultimately cease to exist. It is time to finally free these innocent and beautiful animals.