SeaWorld Has Just Been Dealt a Killer Blow
Commission says San Diego park can no longer breed killer whales
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2015 9:04 AM CDT
Pamela Anderson raises a sign reading "Vote No, on SeaWorld Tanks, PETA" during a California Coastal Commission meeting Thursday in Long Beach, Calif.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – SeaWorld San Diego's top attraction may be on its last legs, er, fins. In approving a $100 million project that will see a larger holding facility for the park's orcas, the California Coastal Commission imposed some conditions: bans on captive whale breeding and bringing in wild-caught orcas—changes that could eventually put a stop to the park's killer whale shows, reports the Los Angeles Times. SeaWorld opposed the breeding ban, noting it meant its 11 whales would likely be the park's last and arguing only the federal government has the authority to restrict breeding and transfers. "Breeding is a natural, fundamental, and important part of an animal's life, and depriving a social animal of the right to reproduce is inhumane," SeaWorld said after the decision, adding it "will carefully review and consider our options."

CNN notes that during the hearing SeaWorld did say it would be OK with a cap of 15 orcas. The verdict came after more than eight hours of testimony from marine biologists, activists, children, and Pamela Anderson, who wore a shirt reading "SeaWorld Kills" and equated the whales' treatment to "torture," per CNN. The larger facility, dubbed Blue World, will include a new 450,000-gallon pool and 5.2 million-gallon tank—covering an area of 1.5 acres—which will replace an existing 1.7 million-gallon holding facility, per the Times. Opponents said the larger area for the whales was nothing to celebrate considering that a wild whale swims 138 miles a day on average.