Washington Congressman Steps Up to Help End Orca Captivity in the U.S.

While opposition to keeping orcas in captivity was around long before the documentary Blackfish started making waves, the film unquestionably helped bring the issue to a much wider audience.

More people started asking questions about whether keeping orcas in captivity and using them as performers is justifiable, given what we know for certain about how intelligent, far-ranging and deeply social they are. Some of the recent changes we’ve seen continue to point to growing opposition to keeping them in tanks.

Last year, we celebrated an epic victory when SeaWorld finally announced it would be ending its breeding program, which means the current orcas at its facilities will be the last generation in captivity, but animal advocates want to make sure no more will ever suffer the way they have.

Now they’re applauding Washington Rep. Rick Larsen for announcing his co-sponsorship of groundbreaking federal legislation that would ban keeping orcas in captivity in the U.S. for good.

According to lawmakers, even though wild captures haven’t taken place in U.S. waters since the 1970s, and no orcas have been imported from another country since 2001, permits could still technically be issued for captures and imports to facilities looking to increase their population.

The Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA) Act will ban breeding, with or without the use of artificial insemination, live captures and the import or export of orcas for the purposes of public display.

“Orcas are an iconic and beloved part of Pacific Northwest culture,” said Larsen. “Passing the ORCA Act will ensure future generations of orcas stay where they belong: in the wild, not in captivity.”

Not only will the passage of the ORCA Act bring about an end to captivity in the U.S., it will send a strong message to other countries that are still taking them from the wild that this is not acceptable.

We can’t undo what we’ve done to the orcas who have been subjected to the horrors of wild-captures and captivity, but we can build a future where we respect them and their rightful place in the wild.

Take Action!

Please sign and share the petition urging Congress to pass the Orca Responsibility and Care (ORCA) Act.

For more on how to help our resident orcas in the Pacific Northwest, check out the Southern Resident Killer Whale Chinook Salmon Initiative, Orca Network, Center for Whale Research and Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Don’t Let Orcas Be Dammed campaign.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Melania P
Melania P2 years ago

Petition already signed, sharing again

Georgina E M

well this sounds positive signed petition

Angela K
Angela K2 years ago

petition already signed & shared

Margie F
Margie F2 years ago

Thank you to everyone who helps.

Sierra B
Sierra B2 years ago

yes! Release them!Release them all! The only reason why an orca should not be released into the wild is if it has a disability that wont allow it to survive in the wild, like a missing fin or something, or if its really sick or injured

Winn A
Winn A2 years ago


Misss D
Shari F2 years ago

One of the orcas captured in the vicious round-ups of the 1970s is Lolita, a killer whale now held in Miami Seaquarium. She is a Southern Resident and is, I think, the 2nd longest surviving orca in captivity. There is an ongoing campaign to release her back to Washington waters and as part of this, I’ll be going on my first ever protest march on 31st March, in London! We will be protesting outside the offices of a company called ‘Arle Capital’ which is the investment company that owns the company that owns Miami Seaquarium. Join us if you can and spread the word! (Check out the FB page for Marine Connection for details).

Berenice Guedes de Sá

This is selfish act! This is unnaceptable and cruel!

Ruth C
Ruth C2 years ago

Whoever contributes to having these animals in captivity, are selfish, heartless monsters!