A proposed California state bill would ban the use of killer whales for entertainment purposes, thereby outlawing SeaWorld San Diego's orca shows and forcing a release of the animals, according to the Associated Press.
California legislators on Tuesday will hold their first committee meeting to consider the bill, known as AB-2140. The law would make it illegal to "hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes," and would require that all killer whales currently in captivity "shall be rehabilitated and returned to the wild where possible."
The proposed law comes in the wake of 2013's Blackfish, a documentary that paints a bleak picture of captive killer whales' lives at the theme park chain SeaWorld. Blackfish describes living conditions that lead to stressed and depressed animals, which it links to the deaths of several trainers.
SeaWorld has battled public perception problems since the release of the film, but this is the first legislative action that would fundamentally alter the way the park — a major San Diego tourist attraction — functions.
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