Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Reaffirms Support for Captive Orca Welfare and Safety Act

A.B. 2140, Which Would End Captive Orca Performances, Will Be Considered by Gonzalez and Committee Colleagues Tuesday

SACRAMENTO – (Monday, April 7, 2014) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) made the following statement about Assembly Bill 2140 (Bloom) in anticipation of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife’s consideration of the bill on Tuesday morning:

“Upon learning a few weeks ago that Assemblyman Bloom would be authoring Assembly Bill 2140, I told the media that I was inclined to support his proposal. Since then, I have studied the issue carefully and consulted with many experts involved in the debate – including representatives from SeaWorld and independent experts in the field – in hopes of understanding the landmark changes Mr. Bloom is hoping to accomplish with A.B. 2140.

“Barring any new information that could change my mind tomorrow, I plan to strongly support A.B. 2140 and vote to bring an end to the practice of holding orcas in captivity solely for entertainment purposes in California.  As a longtime advocate for the environment and for worker safety, I am greatly concerned by the practice of confining orcas’ living environments, sequestering them from their natural social organizations, forcing them to perform circus tricks for huge profits, and endangering the well-being of employees by putting them in hazardous situations. Of these, I’m most familiar with the attempts by the local operator of orca shows to oppose measures to increase worker safety and that unfortunately doesn’t bode well for their credibility on the other issues raised by A.B. 2140.

“SeaWorld’s most compelling arguments to continue the performance of captive orcas for entertainment purposes have been economic in nature. The reason to carry on with these dangerous orca performances, SeaWorld says, is because they generate profits.

“To those who oppose this legislation, I take no satisfaction in making two predictions:  First—you on the wrong side of history, and that within my lifetime this indefensible practice will be outlawed. Second – tragically, another employee will be hurt or killed by a distressed orca, and predictably, management will blame the victim and call it ‘trainer error.’ Neither of those facts can be justified by profits.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit http://asmdc.org/members/a80/.

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