Tipping Point: Now Even Congress Is Worried About SeaWorld’s Captive Orcas

by on June 13, 2014 · 6 comments

in Culture, Environment, Politics

By Melissa Cronin / The Dodo

“The interesting thing about tipping points is that you never know quite when you’re at the top — you need to keep pushing tenaciously until the momentum is unstoppable,” Louie Psihoyos, executive director of Oceanic Preservation Society said in reaction the Congress’ push to protect orcas.

“The momentum against cetaceans in captivity is now reaching that apex — when Congress acts quickly and unanimously on anything you know we are about to see the summit of that tipping point. SeaWorld investors should be running from the exits like rats from a ship.”

After 20 years of a failure to update regulations on captive marine mammals, a pair of Congressmen have successfully passed an amendment that will force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update their rules that protect captive orcas and other marine mammals on Wednesday.

The amendment, which passed with unanimous bipartisan support, was introduced by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA) to the Agriculture Appropriations Act. It will provide $1 million toward an effort that involves studying the effects of captivity on orca whales.

The amendment comes after 38 members of Congress penned a strongly-worded letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and to the USDA demanding updated regulations for captive marine mammals in the country — a bold move that shocked many animal advocates.

Said Reps. Schiff and Huffman in a release:

“For almost 20 years, USDA has failed to review and update the Animal Welfare Act regulations for captive orcas and other marine mammals. These rules certainly should have been revised in light of new data twelve years ago when USDA opened up the rulemaking process.

Unfortunately, they dropped the ball—so it’s time to try again. Our amendment reminds USDA that inaction is unacceptable – the American people want to see these regulations reviewed and updated to reflect the growing scientific and public concern about the effect of captivity on these animals.”


SeaWorld and marine parks profit off keeping orcas and other marine animals in captivity — despite evidence that captivity not only induces unnatural behaviors in whales, but also endangers trainers. Join us in pledging never to visit SeaWorld or other marine parks until they empty their orca tanks.

335,004 supporters have signed this petition. Let’s get to 335,500 go  here to sign the petition.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris June 13, 2014 at 11:31 am

Misleading headline and article as always. Frist of all this bill is not just aimed at Seaworld its all marine parks in the country. Further more Seaworld already meets and exceeds the standards. And in even better news according to an article on reuters yesterday this bill is not expected to pass. And also The White House has said that President Barack Obama would veto the larger bill if it passed Congress. :)


Frank Gormlie June 13, 2014 at 11:52 am

Chris – if as you say, all of our headlines and articles are misleading, why do you always return?


Aging Hippie June 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm



Bill Smith June 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Somebody needs to keep you honest. You seem to exist in la-la land. Your articles are filled with half-truths and outright lies.


Aging Hippie June 13, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Coming from you, that’s high praise, since your perceptions of reality are severely impaired.


Marc Snelling June 15, 2014 at 5:45 am

This article was written by Melissa Cronin.


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