The President and CEO of SeaWorld, Joel Manby, is threatening legal action against California Coastal Commission for placing a ban on killer whale breeding programs at the facility – a decision Manby said overreached their jurisdiction.
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"As a regulatory board charged with managing coastal development and related land-use decisions, the Coastal Commission went way beyond its jurisdiction and authority when it banned breeding by killer whales at SeaWorld," Manby said.
SeaWorld maintains animal welfare is controlled by state and federal laws, and that these do not fall within decision powers of the appointed board of the California Coastal Commission.
"It simply defies common sense that a straightforward land-use permit approval would turn into a ban on animal husbandry practices - an area in which the Commissioners have no education, training or expertise," Manby added.
But Jared Goodman, PETA director of animal law, disagrees with SeaWorld and accused it of fueling unnecessary crisis.
"The legislature required the Commission to protect all resources that exist within the coastal zone, as the orcas at SeaWorld plainly do," Goodman said. "Just as the commission still controls natural spaces that have been spoiled, it retains jurisdiction over wild orcas, whether captured or captive born."
The decision to ban killer whale breeding programs was reached when the commission approved the Blue World Project in SeaWorld at San Diego.
Many animal rights groups commended the decision to ban killer whale breeding at the ocean park in California, saying the killer whales are suffering in captivity.
“They don’t belong in captivity,” Commissioner Dayna Bochco said; she had raised the no-breeding proposal in the first place.
Considering the fact that approval has been given to expand the SeaWorld facility, a 1995 facility portion that had 1.7 million gallon-pool will be demolished and a 5.2-million gallon tank put in its place; together with 450,000 gallons of pool.
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SeaWorld revealed the Blue World project would not necessarily cause an increase in the orca population at the San Diego facility; and Coastal Commissioner Gregory Cox seemed to praise the expansion.