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California Bill Would End SeaWorld Killer Whale Shows

Image: Visitors are greeted by an Orca killer whale as they attend a show featuring the whales during a visit to the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego, California
Visitors are greeted by an Orca killer whale as they attend a show featuring the whales during a visit to the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego, California March 19, 2014. A California lawmaker introduced a bill to ban live performances and captive breeding of killer whales in the state, a measure that would force the SeaWorld San Diego marine theme park to end is popular "Shamu" shows. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANIMALS ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY TRAVEL)MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

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SeaWorld San Diego would have to end its killer whale shows and remove 10 orcas from their tanks under a bill inspired by a documentary blasting the marine park's animal welfare practices.

The California Assembly is holding its first hearing on AB2140 Tuesday morning. The bill's backers say killer whales are too large and intelligent for captivity, while SeaWorld says the animals are well treated and help conservation through research.

The 2013 film "Blackfish" blames attacks and deaths of SeaWorld trainers on the mistreatment of the animals, increasing their aggression. SeaWorld calls the film anti-captivity propaganda.

The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom also bans the import and export of orcas. Under his measure, SeaWorld could keep the animals it has in a larger sea pen until they die.

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