It's a victory for the whales.
The California Coastal Commission met this past Thursday and voted in favor of banning orca whale breeding at the SeaWorld park in the state.
The commission heard hours of testimony, from both sides, but ultimately decided in favor of the ban, which prevents the breeding of the whales at the California SeaWorld only. Selling, trading or transferring captive orcas are included in the ban as well.
This means that the 11 orcas currently at that SeaWorld are likely to be the last ones at the park. Those whales also saw a win in the ban as the commission granted the park $100 million to expand their tanks.
Per PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals):
The ban "ensures that no more orcas will be condemned to a non-life of loneliness, deprivation and misery."
Not all sides were pleased with the decision, however.
The New York Times reports that SeaWorld believes that "depriving a social animal of the right to reproduce is inhumane."
Many, though, have flipped that script on the park, especially after the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which accused SeaWorld of mistreating the animals there — a notion that it firmly disputes.
"We care for these animals as if they were family," SeaWorld veterinarian Hendrik Nollens told the commission's panel. "We have nothing but the whales' best interest at heart."
"People are disgusted and new facilities won't stem the decline," it said in a statement.