Animal rights activists will gather at the state Capitol Monday and petition lawmakers in support of a bill that would ban killer whale shows and captive breeding in California.
Backers of the bill say captivity in small tanks for such large mammals can be extremely stressful.
“They chew on the walls of their tank,” says Naomi Rose, a biologist with the Animal Welfare Institute. “They break their teeth from doing that. They often are aggressive to each other and their trainers in a way that you never see in the wild.”
Rose says stress may have led to captive whales killing four people and injuring dozens over the years.
Christopher Dold is head veterinarian at Sea World. He says the animals are healthy, exciting the public’s interest in the natural world and providing scientists with unique access.
“We’ve got this opportunity to learn about killer whales up close, study them, and engage in research that is highly detailed.”
Committee hearings are expected soon in the Assembly.