Julie Fletcher / The Associated Press

Whale trainer Dawn Brancheau, seen in 2005, died when a killer whale dragged her underwater at a SeaWorld park in Orlando, Fla., in 2010.

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    – Amy Chance

The Buzz: Sea World tells lawmakers its whales are happy

Published: Thursday, Apr. 3, 2014 - 10:52 pm

SeaWorld’s Capitol message:

Our orcas are fine, thanks

Not only are SeaWorld’s orca shows safe for human trainers, they also help ensure the highly intelligent killer whales are healthy and happy.

That was the message SeaWorld San Diego delegates relayed during a visit to the Capitol this week. A bill by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, would prohibit the orca performances that are a major selling point for the prominent San Diego tourist attraction. His measure follows a widely discussed documentary, “Blackfish,” that suggests SeaWorld’s system of raising whales in captivity and enlisting them to perform is detrimental to the orcas compared to their wild counterparts. It also argues the shows put trainers in danger.

Sea World officials say orca shows benefit the whales by keeping them intellectually and physically stimulated and by forging close bonds between the orcas and the trainers and other professionals who work with the creatures.

“They’d rather be in the show than out of the show,” said Lindy Donahue, the park’s supervisor of animal training. “They are so stimulated every day,” she added, “they want to interact with us, and the level of care is so high it’s almost hard to describe.”

– Jeremy B. White

Worth repeating

“Every day this measure marches its way toward the ballot it damages the California brand as the nation's economic powerhouse.”

JOE RODOTA, whose OneCalifornia group opposes a proposal to split California into six states.

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