Coastal Commission Bans Whale Breeding

In what could result in the final demise of SeaWorld, the California Coastal Commission announced a ban on breeding whales. Because SeaWorld no longer captures whales from the wild (and hasn't in 35 years, according to the theme park), its source of entertaining orcas must come from breeding within the current supply.

In a press release, SeaWorld says it will "review options." President and CEO Joel Manby said, "Depriving these social animals of the natural and fundamental right to reproduce is inhumane and we do not support this condition."

The Editorial Board of the San Diego Union-Tribune scored a win for SeaWorld by questioning the legality of the Coastal Commission's ban. The article ended with this encouragement: "But SeaWorld has options, the most obvious being a court challenge. We urge it to aggressively pursue that option."

Others support the decision, including the Humane Society and PETA, which has advertised against SeaWorld's orca conditions by comparing their living conditions to a bathtub.

SeaWorld breeding ban

Discussion Starters:

  • Assess the persuasive arguments in the Editorial Board's article. Which do you find most and least convincing?
  • What actions should SeaWorld take now? Consider legal options and messaging.