San Diego lawmakers react to proposed CA killer whale show ban - Brian W. Jones

San Diego lawmakers react to proposed CA killer whale show ban

A California lawmaker is proposing a new state law that would stop killer whale shows at SeaWorld. If passed, the measure would ban the captivity of orcas for entertainment.

The new bill comes in the wake of the release of the CNN documentary Blackfish.

Animal rights activists are behind it, but a number of lawmakers are coming to SeaWorld's defense.

Seaworld said, "We are deeply committed to the health and well-being of all of our animals, and killer whales are no exception."

Local lawmakers were quicker to share opinions.

"Oh, I'm opposed to the bill; this is a direct attack on SeaWorld. It's politically motivated. There's no science, no biology behind this," Brian Jones of the California State Assembly.

Former San Diego council member Toni Atkins, majority leader in the state assembly, said, "I value what SeaWorld does, both economically as well as scientifically for our region, so I am mindful of that more than probably most of my colleagues in Sacramento."

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez was blunt: "I cannot support legislation that will take away from our regions unique identity and will undoubtedly cost us jobs and tourism."

There will be support for the bill, too: pressure from animal activists.

"I think it's a bold move by this gentleman to introduce this bill," said Ellen Ericksen, an animal rights activist. "It's a great day for the animals that are held in captivity for entertainment everywhere."

The organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, issued a statement: "In the 21st century, it's time to recognize that the orcas and dolphins held captive at SeaWorld do not belong there. Their containment in pitiful swimming pools instead of great oceans condemns our own race's greed and obliviousness."

Mayor Kevin Faulconer considers SeaWorld to be a centerpiece to San Diego, and applauds it for its economic benefit and contributions to marine life.

"I've seen what SeaWorld has done; numerous times on animal life rescues, the incredibly important role they play in our beaches and our bays," he said. "They've done a remarkable job in San Diego and a remarkable job throughout the country."