Help Bring an End to Orca Captivity in California – Support AB 2140


At the April 8th hearing for the Orca Welfare and Safety Act (AB 2140), the California Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee agreed, at the suggestion of the Chair, to send the bill to “interim study”—a process to allow committee members to obtain more information on the science associated with orcas and captivity. AWI looks forward to being part of this process. The committee is expected to revisit the bill in mid-2015 session.


Help Bring an End to Orca Captivity in California – Photo by Orca Research Trust

Dear California Humanitarian,

Please join us in supporting the Orca Welfare and Safety Act (AB 2140), a groundbreaking bill to prohibit the captive display of orcas in California and retire those currently held in captivity to a sea pen on the coast. AB 2140 was introduced by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom in partnership with the Animal Welfare Institute. If enacted, the bill will:

  • Ban holding orcas in captivity for performance or entertainment purposes in California;
  • End captive breeding programs and the import/export of orcas and their genetic material into/out of the state;
  • Allow for public access to observe retired orcas in a sea pen but not allow such orcas to be used for entertainment; and
  • Limit direct human contact with retired orcas to ensure trainer safety.

Orcas are too intelligent, too wide-ranging, too socially complex, and simply too large to adjust to captivity in concrete tanks that are a tiny fraction the size of their natural home ranges. The compromised welfare of captive orcas is evidenced, among other things, by broken and worn down teeth from chewing on concrete walls and metal gates. Orcas in captivity also have shorter lifespans than in the wild, and are traumatized when family groups—which in nature stay together for life—are separated in captivity.

To bring an end to these animals' suffering, it is critical that the show must end. Therefore, we are asking all Californians to immediately contact their assembly members and urge them to support AB 2140.

What You Can Do:
Please call your Assembly member (but not other members) today with a brief, polite message urging them to support AB 2140! Assembly members can also be contacted by letter, fax, or email to let them know that protecting orcas is important to you. To identify your legislators and obtain their contact information, click here (once you click on the link, enter your address and click "Go" to be directed to the state legislators for your district).

Sample Message:
As one of your constituents, I urge you to protect captive orcas and their trainers by supporting the Orca Welfare and Safety Act (AB 2140). If enacted, this legislation will ban the inhumane captivity of orcas, bring an end to breeding programs that perpetuate orca captivity, offer a dignified retirement to all currently captive orcas in the state and limit human interaction with orcas to ensure trainer safety. Please support AB 2140 to put a stop to the inhumane and unnecessary practice of using captive orcas for entertainment. 

Thank you,
[Your name]

Please be sure to share our Dear Humanitarian eAlert with family, friends, and co-workers, and encourage them to contact their Assembly members, too. As always, thank you very much for your help!


Susan Millward
Executive Director

P.S. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the action above and other important animal protection news.

Date Posted: 
Tuesday, March 25, 2014