Congress Must Ban Cruel Whale Captivity



The SWIMS Act would end the capture and breeding of whales for entertainment, closing one of the cruelest chapters in aquarium history.

Last August, Tokitae, an orca at Miami Seaquarium, died after being held for over 50 years in North America’s smallest orca tank. The SWIMS (Strengthening Welfare in Marine Settings) Act (H.R. 7145/S. 3694) would prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again by making it illegal to capture, breed, and import or export orcas, belugas, false killer whales, and pilot whales for public display.

An estimated 50 whales are still languishing in concrete tanks in US amusement parks and aquariums. The SWIMS Act would make them the last generation of whales to suffer for entertainment.

All Whales Suffer in Captivity

Torn from their families and deprived of their vast ocean habitat, captive whales have much shorter lives than their counterparts in the wild. They experience severe psychological distress which often manifests in abnormal repetitive behaviors like chewing on gates and bars and self-injury.

Marine amusement parks like SeaWorld have made billions off the suffering of whales, starting with a calf named Shamu in 1965. SeaWorld hired a man to kill Shamu’s mother with a harpoon gun and then capture Shamu and ship her to SeaWorld San Diego. Shamu died of blood poisoning just six years later. Since Shamu’s death, many whales in captivity have died young including Tilikum, Nakai, and Hugo.

The SWIMS Act Is a First Step Toward Ending Cetacean Captivity

The SWIMS Act is a first step to reining in the exploitative marine amusement park and aquarium industry, which has captured and confined countless animals over the last century. Like whales, dolphins and other marine animals also suffer in captivity. That’s why World Animal Protection is working to shut down every dolphin and whale exhibit in the US. You can help by asking your federal legislators to co-sponsor the SWIMS Act.

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