Animal activists celebrate historic SeaWorld decision…

Orca breeding in captivity banned in California…

Dr Ingrid Visser compares orca tanks to prisons.
Dr Ingrid Visser compares orca tanks to prisons.

The decision to ban a United States theme and marine park from breeding orca in captivity is a historic move, says New Zealand orca expert Dr Ingrid Visser.

The California Coastal Commission last week decided to ban captive whale breeding and drastically restrict the movement of whales in and out of SeaWorld San Diego.

SeaWorld was granted permission to double the size of its orca enclosures as part of a $100-million project that it said would enhance the habitat of the whales and improve research opportunities.

Another condition was a cap of 15 whales at the San Diego attraction, which now houses 11.

Dr Visser, the head of the Orca Research Trust, was the first of about 50 speakers, including actress and animal-rights activist Pamela Anderson, at the hearing held at Long Beach Convention Centre last Friday.

Actress Pamela Anderson, a passionate animal rights activist, holds up a 'No' sign in protest at SeaWorld keeping orcas captive at the marine park. Photo / AP
Actress Pamela Anderson, a passionate animal rights activist, holds up a ‘No’ sign in protest at SeaWorld keeping orcas captive at the marine park. Photo / AP

During her 15 minute presentation she told the hearing it was important to separate the business rhetoric from the facts.

Dr Visser said she spoke from the heart and while the orca tanks would double in size, “a prison was still a prison” and did not cater for the daily activities orca carried out in the wild.

Whales in the wild swam an average distance of 222km per day and dived to depths of about 182m.

An orca mooches around, oblivious to the industry, shipping and other activites on Whangarei Harbour. Photo/ Michael Cunningham

Read more:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11529826

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