This Friday, Rep. Adam Schiff called a press conference and announced that he is looking to introduce the ORCA or Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act. This upcoming legislation will be bringing an end to the captivity of orcas and ensure that their display stops with the current generation.
For those who don’t know: orca or Orcinus orca is more commonly referred to as killer whale. A killer whale is a toothed creature and the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family.
The new act will primarily be prohibiting breeding, import and export and wild capture of orcas for public display. In addition, it will also pave way for a methodical phasing out of the species by providing different orca-holding facilities enough time for transitioning to a secured future.
The legislation has originally been co-sponsored by Rep. Jared Huffman. However, he couldn’t attend Friday’s press conference for unavoidable circumstances.
Rep. Adam Schiff said that there is enough evidence supporting the fact that the physical and psychological harm caused to these wonderful animals significantly outweighs any benefit offered through their display. He added that animal welfare bodies don’t have the right to claim that they are responsible stewards of nature and spread messages about significance of animal welfare when their actions suggest otherwise.
Schiff informed that the ORCA Act will ensure that the current set of orcas would be the last ones to live in captivity. He said that from now on these incredible creatures will be appreciated only in the wild.
Schiff’s bill has got support from a number of experts including State Assemblyman Richard Bloom. Bloom happens to be the sponsor for a previous legislation which banned use of killer whales for performance purposes at aquatic theme parks in California.
Animal Welfare Institute’s marine mammal scientist Dr. Naomi Rose said that orcas are not meant for captivity. She feels that these creatures are too big, too socially complex, too widespread, and too smart for thriving in a concrete enclosure.
Samantha Berg, a former marine mammal trainer, on the other hand, said her profession allowed her to witness firsthand how the killer whales suffer when confined. She said that larger tanks, toys, attention and love from trainers and improved veterinary care cannot match the quality of their lives in ocean.