San Diego mayor blasts proposed ban on orca shows at SeaWorld

March 8, 2014 at 2:40 PM
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SAN DIEGO, March 8 (UPI) -- The mayor of San Diego says a bill proposed in the California Legislature to ban killer whale shows at SeaWorld will only serve to hurt employment in San Diego.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, was proposed in the wake of the documentary "Blackfish," which centers on the 2010 death of a trainer at the marine park in Orlando, Fla., and treatment of orca whales at SeaWorld, CNN reported.

Bloom was joined by "Blackfish" director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, two former SeaWorld orca trainers and an animal welfare activist when he unveiled the bill at a press conference Friday

"It is time that we embrace that the long-accepted practice of keeping orcas (also known as killer whales) captive for human amusement must end," Bloom said.

However, banning orca performance at SeaWorld would cut jobs in San Diego, contends Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the Los Angeles Times reported.

SeaWorld San Diego employs 2,500 people during the winter and as many as 4,500 during the summer.

"SeaWorld is a critical part of San Diego's economy," Faulconer said Friday. "In addition to drawing thousands of tourists to San Diego each year, it is also a leader in maritime and wildlife conservation."

"I think there are much more pressing issues in Sacramento to address," Faulconer said.

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