Blackfish has done it again. After exposing the horrors that captive orcas go through at SeaWorld and other water parks, the documentary has played a crucial role in making sure that torture doesn’t happen again.
On Wednesday Congress unanimously passed an amendment that requires the USDA to research the effects that captivity has on orcas and other large marine mammals and develop updated regulation to protect them.
“For almost 20 years, USDA has failed to review and update the Animal Welfare Act regulations for captive orcas and other marine mammals,” stated Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) in a release about the amendment they proposed together. “Our amendment reminds USDA that inaction is unacceptable – the American people want to see these regulations reviewed and updated to reflect the growing scientific and public concern about the effect of captivity on these animals.”
Both Congressmen admitted to watching Blackfish and being disturbed by the stories of orcas in captivity. At first they tried sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack along with other 36 Congressmen demanding that the USDA come up with updated regulation concerning the “awe-inspiring creatures” but when that when unanswered, Huffman and Schiff proposed the amendment.
After both Congressmen pleaded their case, Congress approved the Agriculture Appropriations Act. The amendment gives the USDA a budget of $1 million that must be spent on researching updated records of the effects of captivity on orcas and marine mammals, and coming up with updated regulations to protect them based on modern science.
And it all took five minutes — literally. Better late than never. You can watch the Congressmen proposal and vote below.
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