Since the release of the documentary Blackfish in 2013, the alleged mistreatment of orca whales at SeaWorld has become a hot-button issue and the park has lost half of its market value. Congressman Adam Schiff, who is from California, plans to introduce a federal orca protection bill that would effectively end killer whale shows in this country by prohibiting the breeding of orcas in captivity, the capture of wild orcas, and the import or export of the whales. In response to this public backlash, SeaWorld San Diego has announced that it will phase out its theatrical killer whale shows, which feature the whales performing circus-like tricks, by the end of 2016 in favor of "an all new orca experience" focusing on the whales' natural environment. Theatrical orca performances will continue at SeaWorld's other parks in San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando, Florida.
For more information, see:
Rupert Neate, "SeaWorld to End Killer Whale Shows in Wake of Mounting Protests," The Guardian, Nov. 9, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/09/seaworld-end-orca-whale-shows-san-diego
Hugo Martin, "California Lawmaker Plans to Introduce Bill to Phase out Killer Whale Shows," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 6, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-bill-to-end-killer-whale-shows-20151106-story.html
Jordan Weissmann, "Bad News, Animal Lovers: SeaWorld Isn't Really Ending Its Killer Whale Show," Slate, Nov. 9, 2015, http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/11/09/seaworld_isn_t_really_ending_its_killer_whale_show.html