Yesterday, Congress unanimously passed a monumental law to protect captive orcas and other marine mammals, to the applause of animal advocates around the world. The amendment will provide a whopping $1 million to the USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service to be used to update regulations on marine mammal captivity so that they reflect current science.
The funds will also be directed toward research to examine the effects of captivity on orca whales and the longevity of wild and captive orca whales.
SeaWorld released this statement in response to the move:
"While we're still examining the intent of the amendment, one must question whether it is the best use of taxpayer funds to spend $1 million to underwrite studies on marine mammals in zoological settings when peer-reviewed scientific studies on this subject already exist."
It seems bizarre that SeaWorld would actually question renewed spending on captive marine mammals, as, by their own definition, "research is a key component of SeaWorld's larger commitment to conservation and animal welfare."