In a major victory for animal rights activists, California’s SeaWorld has banned their killer whale breeding program and entertainment shows thanks to a new measure signed by Governor Jerry Brown this Tuesday.
Earlier this year, the theme park promised to end the program.
Under the new measure, anyone who is caught breeding killer whales in captivity can be fined up to $100,000.
Exempt from the law are institutions that focus on research, rehabilitation.
In a Twitter post on Monday, the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom, praised the governor’s signing of SB839.
— Richard Bloom (@RichardBloom) September 13, 2016
SeaWorld still has 24 killer whales, or orcas, held in captivity in California, Texas, and Florida.
“The bill does allow for SeaWorld to rescue and rehabilitate stranded orcas, with the goal of returning them to the wild, as is the case with all animals we rescue.” They said on their website.
“And, if the federal government determines that the orca is not releasable, that animal could stay in SeaWorld’s care.”
Starting in June next year, orcas in captivity can be used for “educational” purposes only.