photo credit:Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
It happened with Keiko’s release. It happened with Ric O’Barry’s stolen “freed” dolphins. And it happened in California last night.
Animal rights activists channeled their loud, aggressive rhetoric to influence decisions regarding the welfare of animals they have no claim to.
SeaWorld San Diego’s Blue World Project, a massive, innovative habitat expansion that would double the size of the current killer whale complex and add incredible welfare advancements to an already state-of-the-art facility was placed before the California Coastal Commission (CCC) for permit and approval.
The California Coastal Commission’s job, under the law, is to examine and approve all projects that may affect the California coastline and economy.
Unfortunately, yesterday the Coastal Commission meeting became an animal rights propaganda circus.
The anti-zoological camp brought in every single quasi-celebrity they could think of, from Baywatch star Pamela Anderson to noted-racist and activist-turned-writer John Hargrove to speak to the Commission about why the SeaWorld whales shouldn’t get bigger tanks.
Sounds hypocritical? You bet. Especially since it is explicitly out of the Commission’s jurisdiction to make value judgments on businesses. Not only did the activists offer no compelling argument to the contrary, the Commission’s own report on the Blue World project found it to be an ecologically and economically positive contribution to the area.
But truth doesn’t always win on the first try.
At the very last minute, Commissioner Dayna Bochco introduced an amendment to the permit that caught everyone off guard.
Despite overwhelming scientific evidence and cooperation from SeaWorld, the California Coastal Commission balked under activist pressure and added an amendment to the proposal that would stagnate the 11 San Diego killer whales in their newly built habitat with a ban on breeding and transportation.
Not only is this a potentially a huge overstep of the Commission’s legal jurisdiction and authority, it was completely unexamined and unsubstantiated by any research.
The amendment was based on one member of the Commission’s interpretation that the CCC’s authority overruled the federal jurisdiction of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Commisioner Bocho’s amendment asserts the Commission holds sway over animals that, far from being public property, are the assets of a private company. Not only that, but the amendment was unfriendly, passed without favor of the applicant, and specified no type of enforcement or penalty.
Meanwhile, we are left with the disturbing notion that for animal rights activists, their radical agenda comes before animals’ welfare. As SeaWorld stated in their press release, “Breeding is a natural, fundamental and important part of an animal’s life and depriving a social animal of the right to reproduce is inhumane.”
There is no compromise with extremism and it’s disappointing to see California refuse to take a stand for the animals that it claims so much authority over.
Agenda over welfare must stop before progress is halted completely and we see another animal die at the hands of people with a moral superiority complex.