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SeaWorld Begins Fight To Overturn Orca Breeding Ban

<p> Tinseltown/Shutterstock </p>

SeaWorld simply refuses to compromise.

Even though the California Coastal Commission voted in October to allow SeaWorld's San Diego location to expand its orca tanks, a plan called Project Blue World that the company has been aggressively promoting for quite a while, SeaWorld still isn't happy.

The allowance for the expansion came with a major and surprising condition: SeaWorld San Diego would no longer be allowed to breed its captive orcas. Now, SeaWorld is fighting that decision.

An orca show at SeaWorld San Diego in June 2015.Tinseltown/Shutterstock

An orca show at SeaWorld San Diego in June 2015. | Tinseltown/Shutterstock

The twist of fate that came with SeaWorld's granted wish, worthy of a fairy tale, was celebrated by animal advocates everywhere. Ex-SeaWorld trainer Jeffrey Ventre called the win "the most significant victory [against] marine mammal captivity in the history of this fight."

But SeaWorld is determined to keep things as they were - and to keep breeding orcas in its tanks. So SeaWorld has decided to try to use the law to get its way. "The Coastal Commission has neither the legal jurisdiction nor, accordingly, the expertise, to dictate the care, feeding or breeding of animals held solely in captivity under human care," the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, states.

Animal advocacy groups are astounded at the shamelessness of SeaWorld's legal move. "Shame on SeaWorld for wasting California taxpayer dollars by filing a lawsuit which existing case law suggests will almost certainly fail," Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) Executive Director Stephen Wells said in a statement. "The Animal Legal Defense Fund stands ready to support the California Coastal Commission in upholding the conditions that prohibit SeaWorld San Diego from pursuing Blue World Project unless it phases out the cruel captive exploitation of orcas."

An orca show at SeaWorld San Diego in June 2015.Tinseltown/Shutterstock

An orca show at SeaWorld San Diego in June 2015. | Tinseltown/Shutterstock

PETA added: "The California Coastal Commission was right to ban orca breeding as a condition of SeaWorld San Diego's expansion and acted fully within its authority as protector of all resources within the coastal zone ... It's clear that the company's primary intention in pursuing the Blue World Project was to breed more orcas to confine to tanks."

Animal advocates urge SeaWorld to ditch the orca shows for its own good. As distaste for seeing magnificent wild animals stuck in tanks continues to grew, SeaWorld's only chance of surviving as a business is to respond to what so many people want: To end the tacky orca shows and invest in coastal sanctuaries for the captive orcas who were born - and will likely die - without ever touching the ocean.