SeaWorld is home to orcas in San Diego, where the California Coastal Commission just voted to ban the breeding of the killer whales, including the use of artificial insemination. However, the California Coastal Commission is allowing SeaWorld to expand its current orca habitat, according to Time. The public hearing, held Thursday in Long Beach, Calif., will only affect orcas in SeaWorld's San Diego location and not any of the other parks across the U.S.
Representivites from both sides of the debate used social media to make their points.
"These 11 orcas would be the last 11 orcas [at the San Diego SeaWorld]," said Jared Goodman, a PETA lawyer, reported the Associated Press.
Even though animal rights activists were excited about the decision, SeaWorld said it was disappointed with the decision and will look into other options.
"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," said Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, according to Time. SeaWorld claimed it hasn't actually captured any wild whales in more than 30 years.
In addition, the California Coastal Commission banned the sale, trade or transfer of the captive orcas. However, it is giving SeaWorld $100 million to expand its tanks so the whales have more room to swim in.
SeaWorld labeled the expansion "Blue World Project," which will increase the whales' living space to 1.5 acres and a new depth of 50 feet, doubling the water volume, according to the New York Times. SeaWorld plans to open the new facility sometime in 2018.