PETITION TARGETS: House Committees on Natural Resources and Agriculture
Tilikum, an orca brutally ripped from the wild as an infant, suffered exploitation for decades – forced to perform for people’s ‘entertainment’ during the day and kept in a tiny module or barren, concrete pool at night before reportedly retaliating and drowning three of his trainers.
The animal’s tragic dilemma, publicized in 2013 in the documentary Blackfish, underscored the horrific treatment of captive orcas at amusement parks worldwide that is still continuing to this day.
Orcas, whether wild or captive born, are large-brained mammals capable of creative problem solving and complex communication who form life-long bonds with their pods.
Since 1960, more than 160 orcas have been pulled from the wild and relegated to barren tanks that animal welfare experts say can’t meet their physical, social, or emotional needs, while dozens of others bred on the premises also face lifelong confinement in captivity. Today, at least 57 orcas – including 27 who were ripped from their wild homes – languish in confinement, according to statistics from Whale and Dolphin Conservation USA.
Now, a new bill could help end that vicious entrapment and exploitation.
The Strengthening Welfare in Marine Settings (SWIMS) Act would prohibit the breeding, importing, exporting, and wild capture of orcas and beluga, pilot, and false killer whales.
The bill notes that current federal law allows confinement in barren tanks that don’t meet these animals’ most basic needs, and that these species suffer in captivity as permitted — as evidenced by premature death and the development of stress-based, stereotypic behaviors.
Although the proposed legislation would not free animals already imprisoned in amusement parks, it would be a huge step toward sparing future generations of these intelligent and sentient animals.
Animals are not here for our “entertainment.” All dolphins and whales deserve to live peaceful lives, with their beloved pod members, in their natural environment.
Sign our petition urging legislators to expeditiously review and pass the SWIMS Act and so help end the inhumane confinement and suffering of these precious animals.