Blackfish," he said, "helped bring home for me the disturbing effects of captivity on these incredible creatures. What I found troubled me, and as a person who believes we have an obligation to treat animals humanely I thought it was important to raise these concerns in Congress."
So far, reaction has been positive.
"We've been talking to our colleagues on both sides of the aisle," he said. "There's no question that awareness of the concerns about orca captivity is increasing, both in Congress and in the public at large."
All that positive feedback, "has just made me more convinced that collectively we're starting to move the needle towards ending the practice of keeping orcas captive for entertainment," Schiff said. "I believe that our moral compass will ultimately lead us to end this inhumane practice so we can go back to seeing these majestic animals in their natural habitat, where they belong."
Schiff believes the time has come to phase out killer whale captivity, beginning with an end to captive breeding and wild captures, which still occur in places like Russia.
"With the death of this generation of captive orcas, we should draw a line," he said. "No more confinement in tiny tanks. No more forced social structures. No more captivity for our entertainment."