SeaWorld weighing in on orca bills

August 14, 2016

SeaWorld Entertainment has ended orca breeding, but the company continues to weigh in on legislation phasing out display of killer whales, according to lobbying records.

The company spent $650,000 lobbying federal lawmakers on a variety of issues so far this year including a bill phasing out killer-whale display. Records show SeaWorld spent $120,000 on lobbying costs in California this year, with a bill banning orca breeding the only one listed.

The only other American facility with orcas is Miami Seaquarium, which has a lone, aging killer whale named Lolita.

SeaWorld spokeswoman Aimee Jeansonne Becka said the company is not taking an official position on the California bill but has been “working with” its sponsor, Assemblyman Richard Bloom. He unveiled his legislation with SeaWorld San Diego’s park president the same day the company announced it would phase out its killer-whale program by ending breeding.

Bloom had been trying to pass similar legislation since 2014, although the most recent bill eliminated a provision calling for the orcas’ release to sea pens. A staffer for Bloom said the company’s lobbying on the bill appears to be for the purpose of making sure no new requirements get added to it.

Jeansonne Becka said the company isn’t advocating against the bill but “we don’t think the federal legislation is necessary.” She said the company is explaining to lawmakers “the changes we’ve already made at SeaWorld.” Staffers for the sponsors of the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act had no comment.

Source: Orlando Sentinel.com

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