Blackfish Protesters Gather At California Capitol Before Assembly Hearing

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Protesters gathered on at the Capitol in advance of a committee hearing on an Assembly bill aimed at protecting orcas.

On Tuesday, the Assembly Water Parks and Wildlife Committee will begin discussing Assembly Bill 2140, The Orca Welfare And Safety Act. The bill would end the practice of exploiting orcas for entertainment purposes.

Protesters delivered more than 1 million signatures in support of the measure as part of an international movement inspired by Blackfish, the CNN documentary that details orca captivity at SeaWorld.

Lobbying anyone on her path on Monday was fifth-grader Kirra Kotler, 10 from Malibu.

“SeaWorld should help us find a better solution for these whales now,” she said.

She’s led an effort in Southern California to cancel her school’s field trip to SeaWorld after seeing the documentary.

“I told my mom and dad after I watched Blackfish, that I didn’t want to go, and my dad said he’ll support me and my mom did too,” Kotler said.

“This is the best lesson these kids can learn, and they have a voice in their own government,” said her mom, Honore.

Scientists and former killer whale trainer John Hargrove were among those outside the Capitol on Monday.

“These whales were not thriving in captivity, all the health issues that they had,” Hargrove said. He says he resigned from his position in August 2012 after spending 14 years training orcas.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom authored the bill, and says despite some opposition, he and his supporters are pushing forward.

“There is certainly some opposition coming from the business community and other folks in San Diego,” he said. “There’s also a tremendous wellspring of support in San Diego.”

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